A woman is charged with staging her husband’s suicide after a three-year investigation into his death. What investigators arrived with in the man’s suicide reveals a darker picture as to what allegedly happened.
Houston Chronicle reports that back in 2011 Jeane Harrington called 911 to let police know her husband, Michael Gabel, committed suicide. She told authorities that she found the 55-year-old man with plastic around his head. Now she’s being charged with murdering him.
Avon Lake police chief Duane Streator of Ohio notes:
“We know that suicide in this manner is very unusual.”
The police chief adds that there wasn’t evidence of a struggle and that the coroner determined Gabel died from suffocation, strikes to his head and body, and electrical burns.
Police arrested 56-year-old Harrington on Thursday. Her 14-year-old son was turned over to a family member.
Prior to staging her husband’s suicide, Harrington told police he left a suicide note and that massive debts were due. She alleged that she used a stun gun she owned on Gabel many times during their fights over money troubles that evening. According to USA Today, Harrington said in the call:
“He got a letter from the Internal Revenue Service the other day wanting $17,000. And then the following day he got a letter from some collection company wanting $16,000. And tomorrow they’re supposed to sell our home at sheriff’s auction.”
The last time she said she saw her husband alive was on August 16, 2011 at 2 am, after she discovered his “cold body” on the sofa later that morning.
Cleveland.com has more on what Lorain County Deputy Chief Coroner Frank Miller had to say on Friday regarding the autopsy results. He confirms that the Gabel’s body had scrapes, bruises, and burns from a stun gun. He says:
“He did get into a fight earlier that evening. He was definitely alive the night before.”
Chief Streator shares that the relationship Harrington had with her husband was “very strained.” Streator explains:
“She had no problems telling people she disliked him.”
In 2005, Harrington filed for divorce when she learned of debts accrued by Gabel from gambling. He used $25,000 from his 401K to pay off debts and the couple had to mortgage a rental to use $88,000. They reconciled shortly thereafter.
Authorities have reason to now believe that Gabel was stunned by his wife several times before she used a heavy duty restaurant-grade plastic wrap to suffocate him. It appears there’s enough evidence showing that the woman staged her husband’s suicide.
[Image via CBS News]