Iowa City man will plead to killing wife in 2019

cigaretteman

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An Iowa City man accused of killing his wife in 2019 before she could learn about his risky high-interest loans and that he drained one of her savings accounts will plead to a lesser charge Wednesday and not go to trial Nov. 1.


Court documents don’t indicate what plea agreement has been made with Roy Carl Browning Jr., 70, who is charged with first-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of his wife, JoEllen Browning, 65, April 5, 2019.


Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness declined to provide the plea agreement on Monday.


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After Browning’s trial was set for July and was bumped to Nov. 1, Browning filed a motion to exclude testimony regarding that he declined to be questioned by police or asked for a lawyer, testimony by law enforcement regarding his wife’s activities, their relationship and statements made by others about him or his wife’s financial information.


The motion also wanted the court to exclude “opinion testimony” about any possible motive he may have had and of any concealment of funds or how they were used.


The defense also asked that any testimony be excluded alleging Roy Browning was seen with “younger women or beliefs he had one night stands” with other women because it’s irrelevant, according to the motion.


After Roy Browning was arrested in October 2019, investigators said they had determined JoEllen Browning, a University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics budget executive, was going to learn April 5, 2019, about her husband falsifying banking records and numerous high-interest loans.


Investigators said JoEllen Browning had scheduled a meeting with a financial representative that day and would have learned her husband had depleted one of her savings accounts and taken out loans without her knowledge, according to court documents.


During the investigation, law enforcement learned JoEllen Browning had emailed her husband on April 1, asking about the discrepancies in their bank accounts, according to court documents.


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She told her husband to contact their bank to ensure he could log into their account so the couple could review the accounts that night.


Authorities said about 20 minutes after Roy Browning responded to his wife that he was aware of the April 5 meeting, he was at a paint supply store buying rubber gloves and towels, which police said they never found.


Investigators found a text message from JoEllen Browning to her husband that said they were to meet with their financial institution at 8 a.m. April 5 — an hour after she was found dead in her home, according to a search warrant affidavit.


Roy Browning called 911 at 6:59 a.m. April 5, reporting his wife was “unresponsive.”


Police found her on the bedroom floor with multiple stab wounds to her front and back torso and on her left hand, according to court documents. A forensic pathologist determined the cause of death was “sharp-force injuries” — stab wounds — and her death was ruled a homicide.


During the investigation, authorities learned JoEllen Browning had a retirement account and life insurance policy worth more than $2 million, according to court documents. Her husband had no source of income.


According to court documents, Roy Browning is the executor of his wife’s will, which is in probate pending the outcome of his case.


Browning has remained in jail since arrest on a $5 million bail.

 

cigaretteman

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The guy was a compulsive gambler that had squandered away a lot of money from their accounts. The wife had just learned about it and they were supposed to visit the bank. That's when she was killed.


 
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Chewback

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He had no income and she was supporting them. Shealso had a $2mil life insurance policy. If you're careful you could gamble for a couple of weeks on that.
 
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Finance85

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So dude had plenty of motive, and opportunity, but there's no direct evidence connecting him to his wife's death?
 

Hawki97

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So dude had plenty of motive, and opportunity, but there's no direct evidence connecting him to his wife's death?

Some people watch a lot of Forensic Files on HLN. Dude was a grifter off his wife, probably had plenty of time to put his learnings into practice.
 

Hawki97

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City High grad. BAU…

I meant to ask you on Saturday - and maybe I've asked you this before - but do you drive a red truck with a Cardinals sticker across the back window? I was on F62 riding from West Liberty to Hills and the truck went by me on I'm sure on the way to Old 218. Wondered if it was you!
 
I had forgotten about this case, it's about damn time for it to conclude. He was guilty as sin and everyone knew it.
If his strategies for successful gambling were as good as his strategies for getting away with murder, it's no wonder this numpty drained the accounts.
 

TJ8869

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The guy was a compulsive gambler that had squandered away a lot of money from their accounts. The wife had just learned about it and they were supposed to visit the bank. That's when she was killed.
So in other words, she was a nosy Nellie.
 
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Finance85

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Some people watch a lot of Forensic Files on HLN. Dude was a grifter off his wife, probably had plenty of time to put his learnings into practice.
Yup. I watch forensic files, and Dateline.

Where is the line for proof beyond a reasonable doubt in this case?
 

Hawki97

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Yup. I watch forensic files, and Dateline.

Where is the line for proof beyond a reasonable doubt in this case?

Good question. It’s normally when that woman in the intro slaps those weird shades down on Forensic Files. I’m assuming that means semen locked in the guilt. What’s your theory?
 

pjhawk

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So was this guy essentially a bum who lived off his wife during their marriage or did he have a career and was retired? He definitely has the sociopath look.
 

lucas80

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So dude had plenty of motive, and opportunity, but there's no direct evidence connecting him to his wife's death?
I talked to a local detective who did not work on the case, and retired right after it happened. He said the forensics were going to be very difficult to handle. They had lived in the house for decades, and their kids grew up there. Basically the retired detective said the whole house was filled with DNA that would have to be accounted for. Dried blood found on the carpet? Who did it come from? A kid? A long dead dog? The victim?
Bruising on the victim? The detective told me the husband would say she liked it rough. They both did. Then the detectives have to interview the kids about did their parents rough each other up during sex?
Without firm accounting from her, who is to say she didn’t know about all the gambling? Who is to say she didn’t like to gamble a little?
 
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herk90

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I talked to a local detective who did not work on the case, and retired right after it happened. He said the forensics were going to be very difficult to handle. They had lived in the house for decades, and their kids grew up there. Basically the retired detective said the whole house was filled with DNA that would have to be accounted for. Dried blood found on the carpet? Who did it come from? A kid? A long dead dog? The victim?
Bruising on the victim? The detective told me the husband would say she liked it rough. They both did. Then the detectives have to interview the kids about did their parents rough each other up during sex?
Without firm accounting from her, who is to say she didn’t know about all the gambling? Who is to say she didn’t like to gamble a little?
This is just plain dumb. Wow! Good thing he isn’t a detective anymore.
 

Jimmy McGill

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Anyone who wonders why defense attorneys go all out on these type of cases....they don't want to be deposed for ineffective counsel post conviction relief later on
 

cigaretteman

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An Iowa City man pleaded guilty to stabbing his wife multiple times in 2019 before she was scheduled to speak to a banking official who would have told her about his risky high-interest loans, falsified accounting records and that he emptied one of her savings accounts.


Roy Carl Browning Jr., 70, of Iowa City, originally charged with first-degree murder, made an Alford plea to second-degree murder. He still faces a life sentence because a second-degree conviction is 50 years in prison. He will have to serve a mandatory 35 years before being eligible for parole.


Under the Alford plea, Browning, who appeared in an orange jumpsuit, didn’t admit guilt but admitted that the prosecution had enough evidence for a likely conviction in the murder of his wife, JoEllen Browning, 65, who died April 5, 2019.


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Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness said after the plea that more information about the crime will be released later at a sentencing hearing. Lyness did say she conferred with JoEllen Browning’s family about the plea, and they agreed to it.


None of JoEllen’s family was in the courtroom Wednesday.


Sixth Judicial District Judge Kevin McKeever set sentencing for Dec. 2 in Johnson County District Court.


After Roy Browning’s murder trial was rescheduled several times and then set to begin Nov. 1, he filed a motion to exclude testimony that he declined to be questioned by police or asked for a lawyer; testimony by law enforcement regarding his wife’s activities; their relationship and statements made by others about him; or his wife’s financial information. The motion also wanted the court to exclude “opinion testimony” about any possible motive and of any concealment of funds or how they were used.


The defense also asked that any testimony be excluded alleging Roy Browning was seen with “younger women or beliefs he had one night stands” because it’s irrelevant, according to the motion.


After Roy Browning was arrested six months after the murder in October 2019, investigators said they had determined JoEllen Browning, a University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics budget executive, was going to learn April 5, 2019, about her husband falsifying banking records and his numerous high-interest loans.






Investigators said she had scheduled a meeting with a financial representative that day and would have learned her husband had depleted one of her savings accounts and taken out loans without her knowledge, according to court documents.


During the investigation, law enforcement learned JoEllen Browning had emailed her husband that April 1, asking about the discrepancies in their bank accounts, according to court documents. She told her husband to contact their bank to ensure he could log into their account so the couple could review the accounts that night.


Authorities said about 20 minutes after Roy Browning responded to his wife that he was aware of the April 5, 2019, meeting, he was at a paint supply store buying rubber gloves and towels, which police said they never found.


Investigators did find a text message from JoEllen Browning to her husband that said they were to meet with their financial institution at 8 a.m. that day — an hour after she was found dead in her home, according to a search warrant affidavit.


Roy Browning called 911 at 6:59 a.m. April 5, 2019, reporting his wife was “unresponsive.” Police found her on the bedroom floor with multiple stab wounds to her front and back torso and on her left hand, according to court documents. A forensic pathologist determined the cause of death was “sharp-force injuries” — stab wounds — and her death was ruled a homicide.


During the investigation, authorities learned JoEllen Browning had a retirement account and life insurance policy worth more than $2 million, according to court documents. Her husband had no source of income. According to court documents, Roy Browning is the executor of his wife’s will, which is in probate pending the outcome of the case.


Browning will remain in jail on a $5 million bail pending his sentencing.

 

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