Nevada Death Row Inmate Released After 3 Decades

Man's Murder Conviction Was Dismissed

Associated Press
August 23, 2019 - 6:59 am
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ELY, Nev. (AP) — A 63-year-old man who was on Nevada’s death row for more than three decades has been released from prison following the dismissal of his murder conviction.

Paul Browning walked out of Ely State Prison on Wednesday, with his 86-year-old mother and other relatives there to greet him, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported .

“I had to make it,” said Betty Browning, who traveled from North Carolina to see her son released. “I’ve been waiting for this.”

Paul Browning was convicted in 1986 and sentenced to death in the killing of Hugo Elsen, a Las Vegas jeweler.

“Being in there that long, you see a lot of things that affect you,” Browning said. “You get to know people, no matter how horrendous their crimes were. You see a lot of death — natural causes, suicide. It affects you.”

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017 determined there were “extreme malfunctions” at Browning’s trial. The court found a “mixture of disturbing prosecutorial misconduct and woefully inadequate assistance of counsel.”

District Judge Douglas Herndon dismissed the murder conviction earlier this year, determining a new, fair trial is not possible.

Browning remained in prison as prosecutors sought to appeal the judge’s ruling with the state Supreme Court, which has not yet issued a decision.

Herndon lifted a hold on the case earlier this month, resulting in Browning’s release.

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson did not respond to the newspaper’s request for comment on Browning’s release.