Robert Charles Browne

Last updated
Robert Charles Browne
Born (1952-10-31) October 31, 1952 (age 70)
Conviction(s) First degree murder (2 counts)
Criminal penalty Life imprisonment with chance of parole
Victims2 confirmed
9+ suspected
48–49 claimed
Span of crimes
1987 1991 (confirmed)
1970–1995 (alleged)
CountryUnited States, possibly South Korea
State(s) Colorado, others confessed
Date apprehended
March 28, 1995
Imprisoned at Limon Correctional Facility, Limon, Colorado

Robert Charles Browne (born October 31, 1952) is an American murderer who is currently serving two life sentences for the murders of two teenage girls in Colorado Springs, Colorado, committed in 1987 and 1991, respectively. A few years into his sentence, he sent letters to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office in which he claimed to be a serial killer who has killed approximately 48 or 49 people since 1970 across several states.


Though most of his claims remain uncorroborated, Browne is considered a credible suspect in at least seven further killings, for which he has never been charged.

Early life

Robert Charles Browne was born on October 31, 1952, in Coushatta, Louisiana, the youngest of nine children. His family ran a dairy farm, and his father, Ronald, later became a deputy sheriff in the Red River Parish Sheriff's Office. The family had a history of depression via his mother Buela's side, as his maternal grandfather had drowned himself in a cistern by weighing a chain around his neck. Despite this tragic event, the local townsfolk considered the Brownes to be a good family who greatly cared about all of their children. [1]

While Browne was considered an intelligent child who was skilled in math, he had average grades at school, was considered a loner and was known for his short temper. [2] Later on, dropped out of the Coushatta High School shortly before his 17th birthday to join the Army. During his service, he did two tours in Vietnam and one in South Korea before being dishonorably discharged in 1976 for drug abuse. [1] After returning to Louisiana, Browne would find work in various businesses around Louisiana, Texas, and Colorado, ranging from delivering flowers to working as a clerk at a Kwik-Stop. He married on five different occasions, with each wife being petite and slim, all of whom he later divorced. Browne had one child from his second marriage to a Vietnamese woman, a boy named Thomas. When questioned, the latter three wives would claim that he would become physically abusive over the slightest mistake or would act irrationally, even saying to his fifth wife that he hated women and cops. [3]

Browne's criminal record prior to his murder convictions was relatively unremarkable, including a conviction for car theft in Louisiana, a 1981 arrest warrant for stealing a church bell, and a 1986 conviction for stealing a pickup truck. However, there were also multiple police reports that linked him to various drug charges, burglaries, arsons and even incidents of animal cruelty. [3]


In his letters and conversations with investigators, Browne would repeatedly claim that he murdered approximately 48 or 49 people, the majority of whom were women whom he considered to be of "low moral value" who cheated on their boyfriends and husbands. [4] [5] Browne stated that most of his killings were never pre-planned and were against victims of opportunity he met in motels, convenience stores and similar settings, and he would kill them using a variety of methods ranging from strangulation, shooting, pushing them off high places such as cliffs, stabbing them with items such as screwdrivers and ice picks, and even using ether and other compounds to incapacitate them. [4] He has claimed to have dismembered the remains of most of the female victims and later disposed of their remains in isolated areas, and since he usually had no personal connections or spent very little time with them, it was hard to link him back to any of them. [6]

Concerning the specifics of his claims, Browne drew a map outlining several states with numbers indicating how many he had killed in the respective area. According to this map, he has killed 17 people in his native Louisiana; 9 in Colorado; 7 in Texas; 5 in Arkansas; 3 in Mississippi; two each in California, New Mexico and Oklahoma; and a single victim in Washington State. The very first of these alleged victims was a fellow soldier he had killed in 1970, while stationed in South Korea, supposedly during a bar fight over a woman. [6]

In contrast to his claims, Browne has provided few details for a majority of his purported kills, leading most investigators to believe that they are likely a fabrication made either for attention or to spite the sheriff's office which first convicted him. [7] Thus far, he has been convicted in two separate murders and remains a credible suspect in the following murders:

Arrest, trial and imprisonment

Two years after the discovery of Church's remains, investigators focused on matching the evidence left at the crime scene, specifically on the fingerprints left behind by the killer. One of the investigators, Tom Carney, eventually submitted them to AFIS, which got a match to Browne through the past felony convictions in Louisiana. Because of this, he was arrested and charged with Church's murder on March 28, 1995. [17]

Not long after, Browne accepted a plea bargain proposed by District Attorney John Anderson, in which he would plead guilty to Church's murder in exchange for the state not seeking the death sentence against him and would drop all additional charges (with the exception of first-degree murder). [18] As a result, he was instead sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. [18] Over the years, Browne started writing numerous cryptic letters to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, one of which stated that "the score is you 1, the other team 48." [6] Eventually, various investigators started privately communicating with Browne, who gradually revealed through poetry and prose that he had supposedly killed 48 or 49 people since 1970.

Whilst initially skeptical of his claims, interest in his confessions was bolstered after Browne accepted a plea deal relating to the 1987 murder of Rocio Sperry, for which he was given another life term. Shortly after his plea, investigators from the Mendoza reported that they were seeking a DNA link back to Browne, but nothing came out of this inquiry. [19]

Veracity of claims

The reception towards Browne's claims have been mixed. While several seasoned investigators and writers specializing in studying serial killers, among them Robert Ressler and James Alan Fox, have stated that he is likely responsible for more murders than those for which he was convicted but also believe Browne is exaggerating the number of victims. [20] [3] These doubts have been shared by family members of some of his supposed victims, most notably those of Faye Self, who have publicly stated that the real killer was another man. [21]

Browne's interactions with investigator Charlie Hess were extensively detailed in an article published in The New York Times , titled "The Confessor". [22] Some media outlets later criticized the article for facilitating blind belief in Browne's claims. [23]


As of February 2023, Browne is still alive and serving his sentence at the Limon Correctional Facility in Limon, Colorado. He remains convicted solely in the murders of Sperry and Church, and no further murders have been conclusively linked to him since.

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