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Woman slain; police say husband confesses

September 21, 2018

NEW HAVEN : Courtney Marie Brown loved her husband so much she had his name tattooed above her breast.

That’s why her neighbors, Keith, two doors down from Brown’s home at 1924 Medford Drive in New Haven, and Frank, across the street, couldn’t believe her husband, Wiley Brown III, shot and killed her in the middle of the night Thursday.

Wiley Brown, 26, walked into the New Haven Police Department around 2:30 a.m. Thursday and announced that he had killed his wife, police said.

He is charged with murder and will appear in court today.

Courtney Brown, 24, is the 34th homicide victim in Allen County this year. The coroner said she was shot in the head.

Keith said he’d known Courtney Brown for 17 years, the time he’d lived in the neighborhood; Frank, 13 years. Neither man wanted to give his last name.

Courtney Brown took over her childhood home from her parents, Frank and Keith said, and worked hard, sometimes working two jobs, to afford it. Wiley Brown was the father of their two girls, ages 5 and 2, and moved in about two years ago, they recalled.

Neither neighbor ever saw anything amiss with the couple other than the usual kind of disagreements. When the young girls had birthdays, there were family get-togethers and the two men said they had gotten to know the families of both husband and wife.

When she had Wiley’s name tattooed on her chest, she openly declared her devotion. “I just love him,” Keith recalled her telling him.

Wiley Brown, a mechanic at Penske in New Haven, would often ask Frank if he wanted some help when Frank was working on his pickup truck, Frank said.

Just before he retired, Frank would drive up to the Browns’ home and the little girls would run over to see if Frank had any cookies for them.

“They’re sweethearts,” Frank said from his small front porch where he looked over at the home, still guarded by a New Haven police car. “I ain’t got nothing bad to say about him except what he did now,” Frank said.

Wiley Brown worked second shift from 3 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. at Penske, according to the neighbors. Courtney Brown worked at Water Furnace at Baer Field and would leave around 4:30 a.m. to start work at 5, the men said. Frank, a retiree, would often follow her part way in the early morning to make sure she was safe, he said.

She’d get home around 3:30 p.m. and her grandmother would watch the girls, they said.

Keith recalled that around 8:30 p.m. Monday, Wiley Brown came home for lunch, which was his normal routine. Keith heard the couple argue about something and Courtney Brown went back into the house, slamming the door behind her. Wiley Brown sat on the stoop of the front porch, smoked a cigarette and then drove back to work.

Although Frank and Keith said they didn’t know of any trouble between the couple, a close friend who went through school with her and stayed close to Courtney Brown said the wife had “tried getting away. She was surely scared.”

“I know she’d thought about getting away multiple times. There has been a history of mild abuse, but it has progressed over the months,” the friend said in a Facebook message to The Journal Gazette on Thursday.

But she never mentioned being afraid he’d kill her.

jduffy@jg.net

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