CLARINDA – A man who allegedly blasted an attorney with a shotgun in Waterloo back in 1983 has died in prison from a suicide attempt.
Ronald Harris Brown was pronounced dead due complications related to his suspected suicide at 9:35 a.m. this morning at the Clarinda Correctional Facility. Brown was 80 years old at the time of his death.
Brown had been serving a life sentence for the crime of Murder 1st Degree from Black Hawk County. His sentence began on October 31, 1983.
All suspected suicides are investigated by the department.
According to court records, Ronald Harris Brown and another man were convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Alvin Davidson, a Waterloo attorney. Davidson was murdered on January 10, 1983, as he was about to enter the Russell Lamson Hotel in Waterloo. He died at the hands of a masked man wearing blue jeans and an Army field jacket, who fired a single blast from a twelve-gauge shotgun. A little over a month after Davidson’s death, murder charges were filed against three men, Jay Hollins, Ronald Brown, and Ennis Montgomery. Subsequently, Brown and Hollins were jointly tried by jury and convicted of first-degree murder. Brown arrived in Waterloo on January 3 at the request of Jay Hollins. Brown was a close friend of Jay’s brother, Jan, who was in jail awaiting trial on a charge of attempting to murder Alvin Davidson. While in Waterloo, Brown, who went only by the name “Joe,” purchased shotgun shells of the same type used to murder Davidson. Brown was observed studying Davidson’s travel to and from the hotel where he lived. On January 10, 1983, within a short time after Brown was observed in the area, Davidson was murdered as he entered the Russell Lamson Hotel by a masked man wearing an army jacket similar to one Brown had been seen wearing and wielding a shotgun that contained shells of the same type earlier purchased by Brown. Immediately after the murder, Brown left Waterloo and traveled to Des Moines where he caught a bus to Arizona.