Northern California woman accused of killing another husband


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An El Dorado County woman once accused of killing her second husband was arrested this week on suspicion of murdering husband No. 3.

Deputies were summoned to the home of Colleen and Robert Harris on Sunday after receiving a report about a homicide, the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. There, deputies spoke to Colleen Harris, 70, and found her 72-year-old husband dead from an apparent gunshot wound.


Colleen Harris, 70, was arrested and booked on suspicion of murder, the department said. No other details about the crime or couple were available, other than that Robert Harris had volunteered for the sheriff’s office since 2007.

Citing its own archives, the Mountain Democrat reported Colleen and Robert Harris filed for divorce on March 29, 2005.

But that’s not all the newspaper turned up. The Democrat reported in 1985 that Harris — then Colleen Batten — was arrested on suspicion of murder in the death of her second husband, James Roger Batten, 47. Harris, then 43, called dispatchers and said her husband was dead; sheriff’s deputies discovered he had been shot twice, in the side and in the heart.

The couple had been living in separate homes, the newspaper reported, after James Batten kicked his wife out of the house.

According to later articles, Harris said she killed her husband because he had threatened to kill her and laughed about raping Harris’ daughter from a previous marriage. Although Harris went to trial for the alleged crime, she was found not guilty.

A psychologist who testified during the trial said Harris had “limited amnesia” and did not remember shooting her husband, who also allegedly held a gun to his wife’s head and raped her after she handed him divorce papers.

Calls to Harris’ lawyer, who also represented her in the 1985 case, were not immediately returned.

Mountain Democrat reporter Cole Mayer told Fox 40 Sacramento the recent arrest was ‘almost a mirror image of what happened in 1985.’

‘It’s very déjà vu,’ Mayer said. ‘Black widow, almost.’


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— Kate Mather

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