A case out of Wyoming County that was unsolved for years, is finally closed. 

“Just thinking that he put his hands on me was what bothered me after he just killed my brother,” said Misty Lester. “He put his hands around me and hugged me just minutes after that. It stuck with me all this time and it probably always will.”

Six years ago, Misty Lester rushed to the scene where her brother, Elskar Lee Hurley, had been fatally shot. It was there that Terry Paul Browning hugged her and told her he was sorry for her loss. He was also the last to be seen with Hurley. 

It was not until June of 2018 that Browning was arrested for first degree murder, and on Monday morning he pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter. 

Hurley’s son, Coby Hurley, said, “It’s been rough. It’s rough on anybody losing your parent but whenever you lose your parents to a bullet in the head, it makes it a little bit rougher.”

In 2012, Terry and Stephanie Browning hired Elskar Hurley to burn down their home so they could collect the insurance money. They allegedly told Hurley they would pay him $5,000 for the job, but instead killed him. 

Terry Browning was sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter due to a lack of physical evidence. 

Wyoming County Prosecuting Attorney, Mike Cochrane, said, “We don’t like to do that, but you have to go with what your evidence tells you and that’s basically what we did here. So I would like to commend Lt. Bledsoe with state police and also Wyoming County Sheriff’s Department for their hard work in this. My heart of course goes out to the family in this matter.”

As for the eight-year sentence, Hurley’s son said, “It’s not near enough,  but it’s something… Better than nothing.”

The case was unsolved for years until Lt. Timothy Bledsoe with WV State Police reopened it, ultimately leading to Browning’s arrest. 

“It’s very difficult, but I think the success we’ve had here should at least reassure people that we’re making every effort we can to solve these cases,” said Bledsoe.

Browning’s mother, Deborah Hurley-Browning, was originally charged in this case, but her charges have been dropped. Stephanie Browning is expected to plead guilty to conspiracy later this week. 
She is facing three to five years in prison.