Murder Suspect Makes First Court Appearance

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David Browning, accused of killing his 76-year-old girlfriend last week in Fayetteville, made his first court appearance on Monday (Aug. 26).

Browning, 55, appeared at the Washington County Detention Center at an 8.1 hearing, in which jailed suspects are told why they are being held and are read their rights. Browning is accused of killing Shirley Wolfe of Fayetteville.

Shackled and wearing orange-and-white detention center clothing, Browning appeared before Magistrate Ray Reynolds. Browning faces felony charges of capital murder, terroristic threatening and aggravated assault.

Browning was given an Aug. 30 arraignment date on the terroristic threatening and aggravated assault charges that he faces, and a Sept. 25 arraignment on the capital murder allegation. At those hearings, he will appear again before the magistrate at the Detention Center to be read the formal charges against him and to enter a plea. Browning is being held without bond.

Browning has been in the Washington County Detention Center since Aug. 21, when he was arrested on suspicion of unrelated charges of public intoxication and disorderly conduct. On Aug. 23, the Fayetteville Police Department indicated he also is being held on suspicion of capital murder.

A witness told police he was with Browning and the victim on Aug. 21 and heard Browning threaten to kill her if she didn’t drop pending charges against him from a past incident.

Police confirmed to 5NEWS that Browning was the woman’s boyfriend.

Police received a call of a stabbing at 510 S. College Ave. at 3:52 p.m. on Aug. 21. Investigators found the Wolfe’s body face-down in the living room with what appeared to be multiple stab wounds and blunt-force trauma, according to a preliminary report from the Washington County Prosecutor’s Office.

Wolfe told police in late July that she feared for her life, saying Browning had threatened to kill her. Officers responded to the home that day and arrested Browning, according to court documents.

Records show Browning was sentenced in 2010 to three years in prison in an assault case.

Browning is listed as “homeless” in his Detention Center booking profile on the Washington County Sheriff’s Office website.

Detectives had been searching since Aug. 21 for Fabian Perales, a person of interest in the murder investigation. Fayetteville police later caught up with Perales. After being questioned, Perales was cleared as a suspect, and police said they were treating him as an eyewitness.

Police blocked South College Avenue between East 4th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Investigators had three homes taped off.