On April 5, 2019, at approximately 6:59 am, a 911 call was made by Roy Carl Browning Jr., reporting his wife; JoEllen Browning (age 65) was unresponsive. At approximately 7:07 am, emergency personnel arrived and found JoEllen Browning deceased. She was found lying on the bedroom floor with apparent stab wounds.

The autopsy conducted by the University of Iowa Decedent Care Unit concluded JoEllen sustained multiple sharp force injuries to the front and back of her torso. The cause of death was sharp force injuries and the manner of death was ruled a homicide. 

Following consultation with Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness, it was determined probable cause existed to obtain a warrant for the arrest of Roy Carl Browning Jr. (age 67) of Iowa City for Murder-First Degree under Iowa State Criminal Code 707.2.  On Monday, Oct. 28, 2019, he  was arrested and charged with Murder in the First Degree for the death of his wife.

He made his initial appearance Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019 in Johnson County District Court.  Bond is set at $5,000,000.00. If convicted, Murder in the First Degree carries a mandatory life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.    

This has been a joint criminal investigation by the Iowa City Police Department, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, University of Iowa Decedent Care Unit and the Johnson County Attorney’s Office. 

A criminal charge is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. 

For more information, contact Special Agent Richard Rahn, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation at 563-370-5109.

Date of publication

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Department