Iowa City man takes plea deal in killing of his wife

Published: Oct. 12, 2022 at 3:46 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - The Iowa City man charged with killing his wife over the couple’s finances took a plea deal Wednesday. Roy Browning Junior was set to go to trial in less than a month.

Authorities said he stabbed and killed his wife, JoEllen in April of 2019. The couple had been married 42 years.

Browning was charged with first-degree murder in his wife’s death. Instead of that first-degree murder charge, Wednesday, Browning pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of second-degree murder.

”Mr. Browning pursuant to the procedure in North Carolina Vs. Alfred, how do you plead to the lesser charge of murder in the second degree, guilty or not guilty?” said 6th Judicial District Judge Kevin McKeever

“Guilty,” said Browning.

With this plea comes a lesser sentence of 50 years instead of a mandatory life sentence.

Back in 2019, court documents show the couple was dealing with financial struggles in the weeks leading up to JoEllen’s murder.

Investigators said Roy was lying to his wife about their finances. They said she discovered it and set up a meeting with their financial institution, but she was found dead the day of her meeting.

Browning’s sentencing will take place on December 2nd. The 70-year-old must serve 70% of that sentence before he’s eligible for parole.