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Court Documents Shed More Light on Reporter Death

Court Documents Shed More Light on Reporter Death

Posted - Jul. 16, 2003 at 10:48 p.m.



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Karen Scullin reportingNew court documents reveal more details on what happened the night newspaper reporter Norma Wagner died. Police have been trying to determine if Wagner died by accident or homicide. And the court papers definitely shed some light on the events leading up to Wagner's death.

Wagner was found dead inside her bedroom here in her Avenues home. Her husband, John Harrison, has not been arrested. But court documents reveal that Harrison told police there was in fact a domestic dispute, and it appears the fight was pretty intense.

As police continue to gather evidence, the one big question that remains is exactly what killed Norma Wagner? While the answer remains a mystery for now there are several factors, now in court documents, that point to a heated argument inside the house the night before she was found dead.

In the papers, detectives say Wagner's husband, John Harrison, admits there was a domestic dispute during which Wagner "fell down the stairs."

Dwayne Baird/Salt Lake City Police Dept.: "HE PICKED HER UP AT THE BOTTOM OF THE STAIRS, TOOK HER BACK UPSTAIRS, AND PUT HER TO BED."

But the documents also tell us the door to the room where Wagner was found appeared to have been "kicked in." And that "blood and hair" were found on the door jam that was broken and splintered.

What's also disturbing: paramedics observed "extensive bruising" on Wagner's torso "not consistent with a fall down the stairs." Actual evidence collected by police includes a number of photos and other personal items.....but also a bed pillow with blood, a papertowel with blood, a white bathrobe with blood and a broken coffee mug.

But even with that evidence police are still depending on toxicology and autopsy results to tell them if Wagner's injuries are the result of an accident, or homicide.

Dwayne Baird: "WOULD IT BE CONSISTENT WITH FALLING DOWN THE STAIRS? OR WOULD IT BE CONSISTENT WITH INJURIES PRODUCED BY SOMEONE ELSE, SOME EXTERNAL SOURCE THAT WOULD HAVE CAUSED HER DEATH?."

John Harrison has not been arrested, and right now he's not accused of a crime.

In a seperate earlier incident, an anonymous caller reported that Harrison had punched Wagner. Officers noticed two black eyes when they arrived, but Wagner denied there was a problem.

The papers do say Harrison was arrested for a domestic dispute in Florida.

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