Widow accused of killing her 5th husband tells ABC13 she thinks the DA is trying to provoke her

Mycah Hatfield Image
Tuesday, May 23, 2023
Bond reduced to $4M for woman accused of killing her husband
ABC13 spoke to the widow inside the jail after the court hearing. The suspect told us she believes the district attorney is trying to provoke her to behave like someone she's not.

CHAMBERS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Despite having her bond lowered by half a million dollars, a Chambers County woman charged with her fifth husband's murder remains in jail.

Sarah Hartsfield's bond for the alleged murder of her late husband, Joseph Hartsfield, is set at $4 million now.

Joseph died back in January in a Baytown hospital following a medical emergency that left him in a coma for a week. The medical examiner ruled he died from the toxic effects of insulin, but the manner of death is listed as undetermined.

Officials told ABC13 the 46-year-old's insulin levels were extremely high four to six hours before Sarah called 911. They said that his glucose monitor had sounded an alarm for quite some time before action was taken.

SEE RELATED STORY: Texas widow Sarah Hartsfield fires attorney and asks for lower bond in handwritten note to judge

Monday was the second attempt her attorney, Keaton Kirkwood, made to have her bond lowered. It was originally set at $5 million, then at a previous hearing, the judge lowered it to $4.5 million.

Kirkwood argued that Sarah is not a threat or danger to the community.

"That's the Sarah I know," Kirkwood said after the hearing. "I know she's respectful. She is helpful towards me with the investigation in this case."

He called Capt. Todd Harris, the jail administrator for the Chambers County Jail, to testify as well. He testified that she has not been a threat to anyone else inside the jail or outside visitors, including the media. Harris, however, spoke about an incident where Sarah cut her wrist and was placed on suicide watch.

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

Sarah Hartsfield, who is accused of causing her husband's death, has been married five times, documents show. One of those husbands spoke to ABC13.

Sarah appeared in court in person for the first time on Monday, whereas she had appeared via Zoom before.

She took the stand twice in her defense and was questioned by her attorney and the district attorney.

"Is there anything you are ever going to take responsibility for?" Chambers County District Attorney Cheryl Lieck Henry asked.

She made several heated statements toward the suspect.

Sarah also spoke to ABC13's Mycah Hatfield inside the jail after the hearing. Sarah told Mycah she believes the district attorney is trying to provoke her to behave like someone she's not.

Kirkwood agreed.

"Yeah, she's trying to spark her, and Sarah is not going to fall for that," he said.

The district attorney brought up issues from Sarah's past, including a protective order filed by her ex-husband and father of her children.

"The state does a good job of conjecture, as far as saying, 'She's this. She's that,' but they've brought nobody forward, put no evidence on other than the district attorney saying she's certain she's a threat to this community," Kirkwood said.

Joesph's family attended the hearing. It was their first.

His uncle, Floyd Johnston, took the stand. He said he met Sarah three or four times.

Johnston said Joseph visited his home in Midway, Texas on Dec. 28 following a disagreement with Sarah. He said Joseph was reopening a bank account in Huntsville and planned to have his direct deposit from work re-directed to the new account.

Joseph said he was "getting out of that mess," according to his uncle, and was in the process of figuring out where he was going to stay.

Johnston said Joseph was scared of what Sarah might do when he tried to leave her, but his uncle said it did not strike him as weird at the time. Johnston said the two were having issues beyond what typically comes with a divorce.

Ultimately, the judge lowered her bond but not to an amount Sarah said she can make.

The judge urged attorneys to come up with a trial date. He said he wants it to happen as soon as practical.

"In the next year? Possibly," Kirkwood said when asked about a trial date. "2023? I don't think that's a realistic turn of events unless it's toward the end of this year."

A future court date has not been set in the case.

SEE MORE: What we know about Texas widow Sarah Hartsfield, under suspicion for death of her 5th husband

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.