October 29, 2019

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- 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. JOELLEN was found lying on the bedroom floor with apparent stab wounds.

The autopsy conducted by the University of Iowa Decedent Care Unit concluded Joellen BROWNING 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 for Murder-First Degree under Iowa State Criminal Code 707.2. On October 28, 2019, BROWNING JR. (age 67) of Iowa City was arrested and charged with Murder in the First Degree for the death of his wife, Joellen BROWNING. He made his initial appearance today, Tuesday, October 29th 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.

Note: A criminal charge is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.


The Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS) is the largest law enforcement agency in the state. It includes six divisions and several bureaus, all working together with local, state and federal government agencies and the private sector, to keep Iowa a safe place by following our core values: leadership, integrity, professionalism, courtesy, service and protection. Divisions within the Iowa DPS: Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, Iowa State Patrol, Iowa State Fire Marshal Division, Iowa Division of Intelligence and Fusion Center, and Administrative Services Division. The Department of Public Safety is led by the Commissioner who is appointed by the Governor.

Iowa Department of Public Safety
215 E 7th St
Des Moines IA 50319