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Cops and Courts

Avon Lake woman indicted in 2011 husband's death


ELYRIA — Jeane Harrington has been indicted on murder and felonious assault charges for the 2011 death of her husband, Michael Gabel.

Harrington, 56, was served with the secret indictment Friday evening, according to Lorain County Jail officials.

The new charges will head off a preliminary hearing scheduled for Monday in Avon Lake Municipal Court in which prosecutors would have had to justify the murder charge Harrington was arrested for on July 10 by Avon Lake police.

Harrington called 911 on Aug. 16, 2011, to report that she had returned from running errands to find her husband dead in the den of the Karen Drive house the estranged couple shared with their then-11-year-old son.

Gabel’s head was wrapped in plastic and he was cold to the touch, Harrington told police. She also said there were financial problems and that her husband had left a one-line note.

An autopsy determined that Gabel, a 55-year-old car salesman, had died from asphyxia from the plastic wrap. He also had some minor bruising and multiple burns from a stun gun. When he was found, he was wearing only underwear and a polo shirt.

Harrington acknowledged using the stun gun on her husband during what she described as a mutual physical altercation in the early morning hours of Aug. 16, 2011, Avon Lake police have said. But she also said she left the room after the argument and last heard her husband use the bathroom around 2 a.m.

But police suspect the scene was staged to look a suicide.

Police and prosecutors have also said that Harrington had an intense dislike for her husband and had told several people that she wanted him dead.

Avon Lake Prosecutor John Reulbach Jr. said during a hearing Wednesday that Harrington told a parishioner at the church where she worked that she had a “surefire way” to kill her husband by wrapping his head in plastic wrap and sitting on his face until he suffocated.

Court records indicate the couple, who married in 1999, had serious financial problems. Their home was sold at sheriff’s sale the day after Gabel died, and Avon Lake Police Chief Duane Streator has said the argument on Aug. 16, 2011, was about money.

Harrington remains jailed in lieu of a $500,000 bond.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or Follow him on Twitter @BradDickenCT.

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