Woman accused of 5th husband's murder says she doesn't trust Chambers County to handle case

Mycah Hatfield Image
Tuesday, May 2, 2023
'I don't belong here': ABC13 sits with Texas widow accused of murder
Dressed in a striped prison jumpsuit with no restraints, Sarah Hartsfield told ABC13 it is degrading as she sits behind bars on a $4.5 million bail, accused of her fifth husband's murder

CHAMBERS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Sarah Hartsfield has been in the Chambers County jail charged for three months, as she is accused of murdering her fifth husband.

Her bond is set at $4.5 million, but last week, she sent a handwritten motion to the judge asking for her bond to be lowered.

Hartsfield is accused of ignoring alarms indicating that her husband, Joseph's, blood sugar level was off. Court records say she waited an hour to call 911 after finding him unresponsive at their home in January 2022.

READ HERE: Texas widow Sarah Hartsfield fires attorney and asks for lower bond in handwritten note to judge

Joseph was in the hospital for about a week before he died.

The medical examiner ruled that Joseph died due to complications of the toxic effects of insulin. His manner of death, whether homicide, suicide, or accidental, is listed as undetermined.

"It shows reasonable doubt," Keaton Kirkwood, Hartsfield's defense attorney, said. "Are we phishing, and we are only picking what we want to hear from sources?"

During a two-hour face-to-face visit with ABC13 reporter Mycah Hatfield, Hartsfield said she felt she got it right when she married Joseph.

The two had been married less than a year. She admittedly said they did not have the perfect relationship but talked about their future years together.

According to court records, Joseph's family told investigators that he planned to leave his Hartsfield in the days leading up to his death.

She spoke about her husband's unhealthy eating habits and said he is responsible for his own health and death.

RELATED: 1st ex-husband sorry that Chambers Co. man 'had to die' to arrest woman who was married 5 times

Hartsfield said the alarm indicating his blood sugar levels were off sounded regularly, so she was not concerned when they went off that night.

Regarding the night in question, Hartsfield said she was sleeping on the couch, recovering from surgery.

"He paid for the life he led," Hartsfield said from inside the jail. "He'd be horrified that I'm in here. I don't belong here."

Eight insulin pens were found next to Joseph's side of the bed. Court records indicate investigators did not seize them.

"Basically, the state is trying to say you have a right or duty to administer your spouse's medication," Kirkwood said.

Hartsfield filed a handwritten motion asking to remove Kirkwood from her case. He also filed a motion to withdraw, saying the two had a conflict of interest that could not be resolved.

WATCH: Records show Chambers Co. woman accused of murdering 5th husband assaulted 2nd husband 27 years ago

A Chambers County woman accused of murdering her fifth husband has a prior assault history after an incident with her second husband 27 years ago in Houston, records show.

During a court hearing on Monday, the two decided to continue working together on the case.

"I just want to see forward momentum," Hartsfield told the judge.

Kirkwood said the issue is not between the two of them. He said the problem is the speed of the case.

He brought up to the judge that Hartsfield has been indicted on these charges, but the defense team still needs to be provided with discovery, including medical records, photos, and police reports, amongst other things.

Chambers County District Attorney Cheryl Lieck Henry said she spoke with the emergency room doctor in the case and obtained medical records. She said they were uploaded in a shared location for the defense to view.

Hartsfield appeared in court via Zoom from the jail.

She sent a handwritten note to ABC13 that reads:

"I am in no way 'hiding' from the public to protect myself. My kids have been traumatized emotionally by all of this. They should not have to see their mother handcuffed and shackled, being moved from one location to another. There is not much I can do to protect them, but if doing this one little thing spares them in any way, I'll do it."

Hartsfield told ABC13 she believes she will be cleared of wrongdoing if her husband's medical records are reviewed. She said he went to the hospital twice last year for life-threatening diabetes-related issues and a doctor told him that he would not live much longer if he continued eating the way he did.

When asked why she believed the medical staff called 911, citing unusual circumstances with his health, she said partly because of things his family members were telling doctors.

She said that she believed the evidence against her was circumstantial, and her attorney agreed during a later interview.

"That's why they're focusing on past events and not this current event," Kirkwood said. "If you were focused on this current event, you would have already provided me with everything."

RELATED: Minnesota death investigation involving Chambers Co. murder suspect Sarah Hartsfield reopens

Hartsfield spoke about the "past events" that her attorney brought up.

In 2018, Hartsfield reportedly shot and killed her fiance, David Bragg, in Minnesota. A grand jury believed it was self-defense, and she never faced any criminal charges.

According to authorities in Douglas County, the case has been re-opened because of new information, and they expect an update soon.

Hartsfield walked through what happened on the day of the shooting from behind bars on Monday. She said no new information would cause the case to need a second look.

A protective order was filed against Hartsfield in 2021 by one of her former husbands, with whom she has five kids. The petition accuses her of trying to use her husband at the time as a hitman to kill another former husband's new wife.

Hartsfield said that her husband at the time came up with the alleged scheme out of spite and later retracted his statements.

During her visit with ABC13, Hartsfield sat without handcuffs or shackles, dressed in her orange and white striped jail uniform. She had a bracelet on her arm that had her name and her mugshot on it.

She said it was degrading.

When asked of people in her past speaking out publicly saying they are relieved she has been caught, Hartsfield said she believes the media put pressure on them. She said she does not believe anyone is on her side, and people who once were afraid to speak out in her defense.

Hartsfield said she does not envision herself leaving jail as a free woman, not because of the facts of the case but because she does not trust Chambers County.

Hartsfield has a bond reduction hearing scheduled for May 22.

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