Sarah Hartsfield, 48, is accused of murdering the fifth man she married, 46-year-old Joseph Hartsfield, in January.
Joseph, a diabetic died at Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital due to what the medical examiner’s office ruled “complications of toxic effects of insulin.”
When she was arrested on Feb. 3, the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office shared the news on Facebook, in a post that’s now been shared hundreds of times.
Her mugshot made it to a man who supervised her in the U.S. Army more than a decade ago.
“It was a little bit of a surprise, but [at second thought] it was like, ‘Oh my gosh, she finally got busted’,” Cpt. Alfonz Markovics told only KPRC 2. “The surprise was that she got caught.”
He’s now retired but served as her supervisor at Fort Eustis in Newport News, Virginia in 2012. He called Sarah Hartsfield “whip-smart.”
“Her mind could separate and compartmentalize and do everything in sequence and do it the right way,” Markovics said.
That’s why he found it unsurprising that she never got charged for fatally shooting David Bragg, her fiancée in between her third and fourth ex-husbands.
The 2018 killing was ruled a self-defense justifiable homicide by Douglas County, Minnesota’s top prosecutor Chad Larson.
“It seemed planned,” Bragg’s brother Thomas Bragg told only KPRC 2.
During her first court appearance, Sarah Hartsfield told Texas prosecutors she went into his house in Garfield, Minn. with two guns but he wrestled one away from her and fired it first during an assault. That’s when she shot and killed him, calling it an “automatic response” and her only chance at survival.
“Seeing and knowing my brother, and knowing the situation around it, and the conversations that he had had with my parents about leaving and getting out of the relationship, it just felt dirty. It felt wrong,” Thomas Bragg said. “You feel guilty because you couldn’t protect somebody else.”
Larson re-opened the Minnesota case four days after a grand jury indicted Sarah Hartsfield for murder in February, following Joseph Hartsfield’s death in the hospital.
Pending the outcome of the re-opened Minnesota investigation, authorities could file charges, present it to a grand jury, or close it again, Larson said.
But the investigation isn’t quite over and there’s no exact timeline for how much longer it could take.
“She never admitted any ... wrongdoing,” Markovics said. “She’s not that kind of person. She’s not going to.”
Sarah Hartsfield is being held on a $4.5 million bond in the Chambers County Jail. Another court hearing is scheduled for Monday, when her court-appointed attorney could withdraw from the case and when she will again ask the judge to reduce her bond.
KPRC 2′s special in-depth look at the case is coming soon on KPRC 2+.