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TAYLORSVILLE — A man who police say absconded from a halfway house after recently being released from prison is in custody again following a violent assault on a woman in her 70s who had befriended the man while he was incarcerated.
New court documents outline the disturbing details of his latest alleged crime after leaving the halfway house where he had been assigned to live.
Christopher Browning, 43, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail Tuesday night for investigation of aggravated sexual assault, aggravated robbery, two counts of aggravated assault, aggravated cruelty to animals, and two counts of making a threat of violence.
Browning was paroled Dec. 6, 2022, after spending 24 years in prison for a 1998 rape conviction when he was 18. But on Jan. 18, agents with Adult Probation and Parole issued a warrant for his arrest for allegedly violating the conditions of his parole by escaping the halfway house.
Browning went to the Taylorsville home of a woman in her 70s who "had correspondence with (Browning) while he was incarcerated at the Utah State Prison via letters and phone calls," a police booking affidavit states. While visiting the woman, Browning called the halfway house to "check in," but when told that a warrant had been issued for his arrest, the woman said that his "demeanor changed and he became very upset."
At that point, the woman told police that Browning made comments like, "You're going to see what kind of monster I am," and "about how easy it would be for him to kill her," the affidavit alleges.
The woman, who became fearful for her life, tried to reason with Browning and said, "What have I ever done to you? All I've done is help you."
But Browning lunged at her and "placed one of his hands over her nose and mouth and the other hand on the victim's throat and applied pressure," according to the affidavit. "The victim stated this went on for a prolonged period of time and stated she began to lose consciousness."
Browning then got a knife from the kitchen and told her "something to the effect of, 'If I'm going back to prison I'm going to make it worth my while,'" before telling her "not to scream or he would kill her," the arrest report says.
Police say Browning proceeded to sexually assault the woman, and also choked the woman's cat and threw it on the ground.
He then returned to the living room, retrieved the knife again, and threatened the woman by making statements such as, "Do you want to see your son again, don't scream," and "I'll kill you if you scream," the affidavit states. "The victim stated that (Browning) continued to tell her that if she told anyone she would die and her son would die."
At one point, Browning allegedly purported to send a text to someone instructing that person to kill the victim's son. Taylorsville police on Wednesday said detectives do not believe Browning actually sent a message to anyone.
For the next 45 minutes, Browning sat by the woman with a knife near him. When he finally decided to leave, he told the woman "he would be watching her and would know if she told anyone about the incident," according to the affidavit.
After Browning left, the woman went to a local hospital. Tuesday night, Salt Lake police located Browning at Liberty Park and arrested him.
In a recording of his last parole hearing, a member of the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole who conducted the hearing noted that Browning had completed sex offender treatment, but that he had also gotten into trouble in 2021 for attacking a corrections officer. Browning claimed, however, that he was changed after going through treatment.
"Quite frankly, I was quite disgusted with myself. I learned a lot and ... my favorite part of therapy was to be able to change," he said. "It let me know, like, where I'm going wrong, or whether a situation should be engaged or not."
He also talked about having anger issues during his last parole hearing, in addition to talking about a woman he had befriended while in prison who provided him with emotional support.
Correction: A previous version said Browning was arrested on Jan. 18, but police arrested him Tuesday night.