IOWA CITY, Iowa - Officials in eastern Iowa have arrested and accused a man of killing his wife, who was a longtime administrator at the University of Iowa system.
Roy Carl Browning Jr., 67, has been charged with first-degree murder, court records show, in relation to the death of JoEllen Browning, who worked for the university's health care system for more than four decades. JoEllen Browning, 65, died in April of multiple stab wounds.
Browning had been the director of operating budgets and an employee at University of Iowa Health Care since 1977.
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On the morning of April 5, Iowa City police officers were dispatched to Browning's home for a reported "unresponsive female."
Autopsy results from the Johnson County Medical Examiner found Browning's death was a homicide and that she died of stab wounds. Located on the east side of town, the home is co-owned by JoEllen Browning and Roy Browning.
Authorities told the Iowa City Press-Citizen that they conducted 100 interviews during the investigation. Roy Browning's charges were filed Monday afternoon, court records show.
What happened April 5
Roy Browning Jr. called Iowa City police at about 7 a.m. that day, reporting that JoEllen was unresponsive in her bedroom, according to a criminal complaint filed in Johnson County. She had been stabbed in the front and back of her torso and on her left hand; her death was ruled a homicide.
Investigators found no evidence of forced entry into the home, but saw blood in the master bedroom and shower, court records show. A sample taken from JoEllen Browning's fingernail showed DNA from Roy Browning Jr. on her finger.
Authorities also say financial records show that Roy Browning had taken money from a joint bank account and placed it into a personal account for himself. JoEllen Browning on April 1 texted her husband, asking him about account discrepancies and told him that she wanted to talk with their financial institution, officials learned after reviewing cellphone and email records.
She set up a meeting and informed her husband via text April 4 that the couple were to see a banker the following day. Roy Browning Jr. acknowledged the meeting, but that same day purchased gloves and towels from a nearby paint supply store, the complaint states. An employee told investigators that he gave Browning Jr. additional gloves that day. Video surveillance put him at the store less than an hour after being informed of the visit with the financial institution.
Investigators found out that Roy Browning Jr. had taken out at least four different loans of $4,000 with an interest rate of more than 300% in Illinois. He told the company not to contact his wife about the checks, court records show.
Officials also spoke with the banker who was planning to meet with the Brownings on April 5, the day JoEllen Browning's body was discovered.
"JoEllen was preparing for tax season and had found some problems with Roy and JoEllen's accounts..." the complaint states. "The representative was prepared to tell JoEllen at this meeting that one of their savings accounts was depleted and Roy had taken out out loans of which JoEllen was not aware.
"The representative was prepared to tell JoEllen that an account JoEllen thought was active never actually existed."
Records showed that Browning used his personal checking account to pay more than $17,600 toward the balance on a credit card under JoEllen's name shortly after his wife died. The credit card was still being used after her funeral April 12, officials found.
"JoEllen Browning had a retirement and life insurance policy worth in excess of $2 million," investigators wrote in their complaint. "In reviewing finances, records show that JoEllen Browning was financially stable and Roy Browning did not have a revenue source."
Investigators never found the items Roy bought at the paint supply store. Roy Browning appears to be hiring his own attorney, court records show, and is next due in court at 2 p.m. Nov. 8.
Follow Tyler Davis on Twitter: @TDavisDMR
This article originally appeared on Iowa City Press-Citizen: Iowa man killed wife after she found financial 'problems', police say