Moline: 25-Year-Old Cold Case Solved - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Moline: 25-Year-Old Cold Case Solved


It sounds like something you would see on a TV show, a murder case that was cold for decades is solved by a prisoner's confession. But it has just happened here in the QCA.

Officers say a cold case review and good police work are the reasons Paul Anderson, already in prison for killing one man, admitted to another murder. It dates back to 1988. But it has never been out of the minds of officers or neighbors. "It's almost as if it's 25 years too late," Rev. Antonio Hernandez says. "We've been safe from him and we didn't know."

This long-time resident says the murder shocked neighbors into silence.  But they always had questions. "Who did this? Is that person still out there? Did that person live next door?" Now they know. Police say the same man who killed Joe Brown 25 years ago also murdered Brown's wife Laura.

"It was obvious that there was probably a connection there," Bettendorf Police Chief Phil Redington tells us. "But because there's two different crime scenes and two different victims, you have to have the evidence to convict." And it wasn't there back in 1988, back when Chief Redington was a detective. Back when Joe Brown was shot twice in the head at Devils Glen Park. Redington says when officers tried to notify Brown's wife Laura, "We found her murdered in her residence in Moline." She had been stabbed to death, found at the bottom of the basement stairs.

And while detectives could link Paul Anderson to Joe Brown's murder though evidence like tire tracks at the park, there wasn't enough solid evidence at the Moline house to link the two crimes. Moline Detective Scott Williams says, "The only person that knew that Joe and Paul were meeting was Laura. That after he shot him in the head, he had to come to Moline and find Laura to kill her."

That is what Anderson told police Tuesday. At the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison, he confessed to the crime and detailed how it happened. "Since he's exhausted all appeals," Williams says, "he really has nothing left to lose." Providing closure for everyone waiting 25 years to find out what happened to Laura Brown. Williams says, "This gives hope. When you have a confession like this, and there's closure for the family, it's hope for the other victims of cold cases."

Police say Anderson won't be prosecuted for Laura Brown's murder, at the request of her family.  He is already serving a life sentence for Joe Brown's murder, with no chance of parole.


Moline Police announced on Thursday, February 21, 2013, that they have solved a 25 year old murder case.

In 1988, Laura Brown was found stabbed to death in her home in the 200 block of 5th avenue in Moline, Ill.

The previous day, her husband had been shot in a Bettendorf park. He later died in the hospital.

Bettendorf Police arrested Paul Anderson, who was convicted in the murder of Joe Brown. But Laura's murder remained unsolved until Moline detectives went to the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison.

They were finally able to get Anderson to confess to the second murder.

Police say Anderson won't be prosecuted, at the request of Brown's family.

He is already serving a life sentence.

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