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Trial reset to July for Iowa City man charged in wife’s slaying
Roy Browning remains in jail, with trial now set for July
IOWA CITY — A trial for an Iowa City man, accused of killing his wife in 2019 because she was going to find out about his risky high-interest loans and falsified banking records, has been delayed for the sixth time to July 12.
Roy Carl Browning Jr., 69, charged with first-degree murder, was set to go to trial Feb. 1, but last month asked for another continuance because an “indispensable” prosecution and defense witness couldn’t be available to testify at the trial due to “medical circumstances.”
Leon Spies, Browning’s lawyer, said he had talked to Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness, and she didn’t resist the continuance.
This trial has been reset five times since 2020 because of scheduling conflicts and the suspension of jury trials and limited jail visits during the early months of the pandemic.
In addition, the defense asked for more time for independent forensic testing, according to court records.
Browning remains in jail in lieu of posting a $5 million bail.
Investigators said they determined Browning’s wife, JoEllen Browning, 65, was about to find out about her husband taking out high-interest loans, the manipulation of the couple's savings account and his falsified banking records.
She never made it to the April 5, 2019, meeting with a financial representative that would show her Roy Browning depleted one of her savings accounts and had taken out loans without her knowledge.
JoEllen Browning, a University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics budget executive, emailed her husband on 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.
Investigators found a text message from JoEllen Browning to her husband that showed they were to have a meeting with their financial institution at 8 a.m. April 5 — an hour after she was found dead, according to a search warrant affidavit.
Authorities said about 20 minutes after Roy Browning responded to his wife that he was aware of the meeting, he was at a paint supply store buying rubber gloves and towels, which police would later say they never found.
Police received a 911 call from Roy Browning 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 found JoEllen Browning had a retirement account and life insurance policy worth over $2 million, according to court documents. Her husband had no source of income.
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