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Kenosha County Eye

Jury Back in 10 Minutes – Kenosha Man Convicted Of Brutal 2021 Murder Of Beloved Mother

Ranon Brownlee (52)

As snow fell outside of the Kenosha County Courthouse, a 12-person jury consisting of nine women and three men listened to a chilling 9-1-1 call for the second time. The call recorded Charniese C. Brown’s last words as she was repeatedly stabbed, and then shot in the back with a shotgun by 52-year-old Ranon Brownlee. The beloved mother pleaded for for life, and for help from Kenosha public safety officials. Unfortunately, when police and paramedics arrived, there was nothing they could do. Brownlee likely didn’t expect Officer Luke Courtier, a six-year veteran of the department, to arrive within two minutes of the frantic call. Even though Courtier knew there was a dangerous man inside the house who was armed, he ignored the risk to his own safety and went inside. Brownlee was quickly arrested. Shortly after, another Officer with the same amount of time on the job as Courtier arrived and dragged Charniese outside so he could begin life-saving measures. This officer wept as he told the jury of his failed efforts to save the young mother’s life, performing CPR. This Officer wasn’t the only person to weep in Judge Jason Rossell’s court room this week. About 20 loved ones, including family and friends of Charniese were present for the entire trial. Officer Courtier was in the court room also as the verdict was read. DA Mike Graveley and ADA Emily Gaertner prosecuted this trial, which began Monday. The jury fore-person couldn’t hold back tears either. The jury was tasked to deliberate just minutes before noon. Within ten minutes, they were back, with a verdict in hand. The pizzas ordered for the jury took much longer to get to the courthouse than the time it took the jury to come to an easy conclusion.

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Jurors listened to hours of text messages that painted a picture of a controlling, violent and evil man that wanted to control every aspect of Charniese’s life. She told him the relationship was over. “He wasn’t going to let her out of this relationship,” Gaertner told the jury during closing arguments. “Not alive anyway.” A couple of weeks before the murder, Chrarniese’s brother was murdered in Detroit and her family held a balloon release in his memory. Brownlee told his victim in one of the text messages that “your balloon release is coming.” Brownlee gave Detectives an “unreasonable” explanation for this message and it was a promise to murder Charniese, detailed DA Graveley. “You all don’t believe [Brownlee],” Graveley told the Jury.

South-side Home Where Charniese Was Murdered
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

Brownlee had a history of beating women when they didn’t do what he said. Brownlee severely beat Charniese Brown on October 16, 2019, about a year and a half before her murder. According to the criminal complaint, he punched her in the face, back and ribs about 10 times. He screamed at her “who you been fucking?!” as he beat her. These were the same controlling words he would be heard screaming on the 9-1-1 audio of her murder. Unfortunately, the Kenosha County DA’s office dismissed these charges against Brownlee and he didn’t have to account for this incident. DA Graveley cited the fact that Charniese recanted the allegations and it makes it tough for prosecutors to convict. This goes to show the level of control this woman-beating monster had on the innocent woman. In 2011, Brownlee used bear-spray on a previous girlfriend and was charged with domestic abuse. Brownlee chuckled to detectives Brennan and Kenesie as he detailed his gruesome actions. He smirked for many of his mugshots during his crime-filled life. But he wasn’t smiling when the jury ensured his imprisonment for life. The cloth mask Brownlee wore for the trial likely wasn’t for covid protection, but to hide his cowardly face from the truth of his utter disregard for his victim, her children, or family.

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Charniese’s Sister Outside Court Room
(Cell Phone Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

Charniese’s family and friends smiled as they left the courtroom, probably becuase they knew that Brownlee can’t hurt anybody ever again. It was clear by their hugs, words, and prayers after the trial, that the love of their friend, daughter and sister will live on through them and her children.

Brownlee will be sentenced on February 8, 2023 at 2:30 p.m. He faces a lifetime in prison and will be likely be denied any chance of parole.

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  • Kevin Mathewson

    Kevin Mathewson is a disciple of Christ, husband and a father to two wonderful children. Mathewson was born and raised in Lake County, IL and worked as a police & fire dispatcher from 2005 to 2010 in Round Lake Beach, IL. Mathewson moved to Kenosha County in 2006, later being elected to the position of Alderman of the 8th District in 2012 and 2016. Mathewson is a private investigator, security contractor, journalist, and photographer. He enjoys spending time with his family, watching movies, camping and boating. His favorite amendment is the second, followed closely by the first. He loves his country and community.


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7 Responses

    1. He falls into the trap that has inflicted many DA’s. Jambois and Zapf could battle to the mat in court but were terrible bosses (and Jambois could be abusive). Great players are not always great coaches or managers and the best DA’s spend little time in the courtroom and more getting the resources needed for the staff to do their jobs. Throughout the years the Kenosha DA’s office in particular has lacked the will to adjust its workload to resources which is a fancy way of saying that they pursue too many trivial cases that suck up time and talent from dangerous criminals. Been like that for decades.

      1. You guys give him too much credit. These are slam dunk convictions.

        If he wers so good, why didn’t he try the Rittenhouse case?

        Being a shitty boss at a lot of jobs means nothing. Being a shitty boss when you are a DA means crime runs rampant and people get hurt.

        1. Good question. I don’t know the answer but Gravely is also a teacher and perhaps he wanted his staff to get the experience. He has done that in other cases. But you should ask him, not us, if you really want an answer.

          Being a bad boss as a DA can have serious consequences. Poor morale impedes handling of cases as does poor management of resources.

  1. Wonder why gravely didn’t prosecute Rittenhouse himself?? It’s not as if he were getting ready to charge Blake-

  2. I knew Brownlee cool guy just an old pimp trying to hang in there that young pussy drove him crazy, one thing forsure. Did not expect him to kill.. always figured pussy would be the death of him though. Live by the pussy die by the pussy

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