Three years after his death, police in Avon Lake, Ohio have determined that the bizarre suicide of Michael Gabel was, in fact, a murder.
On August 16, 2011, Jeane Harrington called 911 to report that her husband had committed suicide. She told dispatchers that she found her husband on the couch with restaurant-grade plastic wrap around his head.
“I just got back from the store and it looks like my husband is deceased,” she said during the 911 call. By way of explanation, she told that dispatcher that “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 Lorain County coroner found that Gabel had been struck on the head multiple times and attacked with a stun gun in the hours before being asphyxiated to death. Harrington told police at the time that the she had used the stun gun on Gabel during a “mutual” altercation earlier that morning.
Authorities now believe she subdued her husband with multiple strikes from the stun gun, beat him about the head, then wrapped his head in the industrial-strength plastic wrap.
Police Chief Duane Streater told reporters with ABC 6 that police had been called to the house for domestic disturbances on multiple occasions.
Harrington was arrested on Friday, and her son with Gabel, who was 11 years old at the time of his father’s death, was turned over to relatives.
Watch a report on Gabel’s murder and Harrington’s arrest via 19 Action News below.
Scott Eric Kaufman is the proprietor of the AV Club's Internet Film School and, in addition to Raw Story, also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2008.
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