On November 8, 1985, Hugo Elsen was stabbed to death during a robbery of his jewelry store in Las Vegas.
His wife, Josy Elsen, was in the back of the store when he was attacked. Hearing noises, she went into the showroom and saw a black man wearing a blue cap squatting over her husband holding a knife.
She fled out the back door to the neighboring store and asked the employees there to call the police.
She and a neighboring employee, Debra Coe, then returned to the jewelry store where Coe placed a pillow under Elsen’s head and covered him with a blanket.
Two to four minutes later help arrived. E
lsen soon died, after giving a very brief description of the perpetrator as a black man wearing a blue cap with loose curled wet hair.
Debra Coe also described a man she had seen leaving the vicinity: he was wearing a blue cap, blue jacket, Levi’s, and tennis shoes; was about 27 years old and about six-feet tall; and had hair a little longer than the cap he was wearing and a mustache.
Another witness, Charles Woods, identified a person he saw leaving the vicinity as a black man wearing a dark or blue cap and dark trousers, about six-feet tall, and weighing about 180 pounds.
The murder of Hugo Elsen was very brutal. When the police came to the room where Paul was staying, Paul was arrested less than one hour after the murder was committed.
Paul L Browning did not fit the description of the killer, had no blood on his clothing and he wore a very large Afro. Regardless of the description of the killer, and knowing Paul’s whereabouts during the day, Paul L Browning was convicted, pursuant to a jury trial, of first-degree murder with the use of a deadly weapon, robbery with the use of a deadly weapon, burglary, and escape.
When DNA testing came into play, there was no DNA evidence that tied Paul to the murder and he served more than 33 years in prison and 26 of those years on death row. In March 2017, Tim Ford went before the 9th Circuit Court and got the conviction over turned and a new trial was ordered.
On March 11, 2019 the case against Paul L. Browning was dismissed in the Clark County District Courts Nevada.