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Investigators reopen Minnesota death case after victim's fiancée accused of killing new husband

Investigators reopen MN death case after victim’s fiancée accused of killing new husband
Investigators reopen MN death case after victim’s fiancée accused of killing new husband 02:09

MINNEAPOLIS – A woman accused of murdering her husband in Texas killed her fiancé five years ago in Minnesota. 

In May of 2018, Sarah Hartsfield killed David Bragg in Garfield, Minnesota. She said it was self-defense, and wasn't charged. 

She now lives in Texas, and has a different reason for her new husband's death -- but prosecutors aren't buying it.

In January, an ambulance rushed James Hartsfield from his home in suburban Houston to the hospital. Sarah Hartsfield posted heartbreaking pictures on social media, and told family and friends he suffered a stroke.

"Would not allow his family to see him while he was in a vegetative state to say goodbye. And things just started progressing rapidly in our investigation where a lot of information wasn't adding up," said Chambers County District Attorney Cheryl Lieck.

James died eight days later. And this week, Sarah was charged with his murder. 

"We're putting a puzzle together and we need all the pieces," Lieck said.

Here are some of those puzzle pieces:

* She has lived in 39 different places
* She's been married five times
* She was engaged to marry Bragg  

Sarah Hartsfield Chambers Co. Sheriff's Office

Bragg was found dead at his home by deputies in 2018. His fiancée, then known as Sarah Donahue, claimed Bragg shot first, and she fired back to defend herself.

She was never charged, but the Douglas County Attorney's Office released this statement Thursday: "Our investigation is considered 'active' again [due to] information."

Sarah's first husband, Titus Knoernschild, says he's happy the law caught up with her. 

"I was honestly surprised to get out of my marriage alive because I was in the Army. I had a $200,000 life insurance on myself at the time. So I was very concerned that I would end up dead so she could get the money," Knoernschild said.  

Investigators have not released Joseph Hartsfield's official cause of death.

Sarah Hartsfield is being held on a $5 million bond.

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