An Iowa City man has been charged with first-degree murder more than six months after his wife of 42 years, University of Iowa Health Care administrator JoEllen Browning, was found stabbed to death in their bedroom. There was no sign of forced entry. No murder weapon was found and Roy Browning Jr. denied involvement, but he was arrested after investigators discovered that he was in financial trouble and his wife was killed just hours before the couple were due to meet with a banker, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reports. Investigators say Browning Jr., 67, had transferred money from a joint account to his personal account and had taken out high-interest loans that his wife didn't know about.
According to court papers, Browning Jr. went to a paint shop and bought towels and rubber gloves on April 4—less than an hour after his wife texted him to say she had set up a meeting at the bank the next day about account discrepancies. "The representative was prepared to tell JoEllen at this meeting that one of their savings accounts was depleted and Roy had taken out loans of which JoEllen was not aware," court papers say. Investigators say JoEllen Browning, director of operating budgets at University of Iowa Health Care, had an estate worth more than $2.5 million, including a $400,000 life insurance policy, the AP reports. The day after his wife's funeral, Browning Jr. used one of her credit cards to pay off a $17,000 debt, investigators say. (Read more Iowa stories.)