25-year-old murder of Laura Brown finally solved


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Originally Posted Online: Feb. 21, 2013, 11:21 am
Last Updated: Feb. 21, 2013, 6:14 pm
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By Dawn Neuses, dneuses@qconline.com

It's been 25 years, but Moline police have solved the 1988 murder of Laura Brown. 

A cold case review by Moline police Detective Michael Griffin, with assistance from the Bettendorf Police Department, led to a resolution in the case, police said. 

Paul Anderson, who is serving life in prison for the murder of Ms. Brown's husband, Joe Brown, has confessed to killing Ms. Brown. 

On March 6, 1988, Ms. Brown, 29, was found lying in a pool of blood at the bottom of the basement stairs of her home in the 200 block of 5th Avenue, Moline. She had been stabbed 27 times.

She was found about eight hours after her husband was discovered in a wooded ravine at Bettendorf's Devil’s Glen Park with two gunshots to the head. He died March 7, 1988. 

Bettendorf police arrested Mr. Anderson and charged him with first-degree murder. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Prosecutors contended Mr. Anderson killed Mr. Brown in retaliation for being cheated out of his share of proceeds from a burglary ring.

Moline Detective Scott Williams said that, after the department hosted a cold-case seminar about six months ago, detectives began going through cold case files. He said Detective Griffin decided to review Ms. Brown's homicide.

Detective Williams said evidence collected in 1988 was not extensive enough to build a case through the crime lab, so the department focused on the obvious suspect, Mr. Anderson, although it remained open to the possibility that an accomplice may have murdered Ms. Brown. 

Detective Griffin and Lt. John Hitchcock met with Mr. Anderson at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison on Feb. 19, and he confessed to the murder of Ms. Brown. 

Ms. Brown's family has been notified of the confession.

Rock Island County State’s Attorney John McGehee worked with Moline detectives throughout the case and decided to not pursue murder charges against Mr. Anderson, in part, to honor the wishes of the family and because Mr. Anderson already is serving natural life in prison with no chance of parole, Detective Williams said.

"He will never get out and we have a confession. The case is closed," he said. "The family told us this brings them closure. Someone said, 'I did it.' The case is 25 years old, and the family put it away and dealt with it as best they could."  

Bettendorf Police Chief Phil Redington said he met with Detective Griffin and Lt. Hitchcock last month to discuss the case, and it's good to have closure in both deaths. "The Moline Police Department did a good job. It 's nice to have the case completed."  

Moline police are reviewing three other cold cases and seeking the public's help with any information they may have on the disappearances of Steve Asplund, Jerry Wolking Sr., and Trudy Appleby.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers of the Quad Cities at 309-762-9500. Callers will remain anonymous and could collect up to $1,000 if their information leads to an arrest.














 




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