Robert Bever Sentenced To Life Without Parole In Murders Of Family
TULSA, Oklahoma - The Bever brothers, who are charged with murdering five members of their families, were back in court Wednesday. Robert Bever pleaded guilty on all counts.
He received five consecutive life sentences without parole in each of the five counts of first-degree murder. In the crime of assault with intent to kill, he received an additional consecutive life sentence.
He has 10 days to appeal his conviction and sentence.
His attorney, Mark Henricksen, told News On 6 their goal was to avoid the death penalty.
"It was overwhelming evidence about what happened. Our client was able to avoid the death penalty," he said.
Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said, "I'm confident we will never be seeing or discussing Robert Bever again, he will not be breathing free air."
Prosecutors say 19-year-old Robert and his younger brother, Michael, stabbed their mother, father and three siblings to death inside their Broken Arrow home in July of last year. Their 13-year-old sister survived her stab wounds, and their 2-year-old sister wasn't hurt.
Police say the boys told them later, they didn't have time to kill her because their brother called 911 before he died and police arrived.
The surviving sister and her adoptive mom weren't in court but had a request, according to Kunzweiler.
"It was their request that Robert Bever never get out of prison again, this sentence is going to ensure that," he said.
The district attorney said it was a difficult decision to negotiate a plea deal for Robert due to the "savagery" of his actions. He said his main consideration was the two surviving siblings who lost everything and deserved the opportunity to move on with their lives.
"While I believe that Robert Bever deserves the death penalty for his savage actions, I feared that a death penalty prosecution would result in his teenage sister being forced to recount and relive the brutal details of the carnage that her brothers wrought again and again," Kunzweiler said in a news release.
Henricksen said, "This is a tragedy of immeasurable dimension, however, our client will probably have an easier life in the penitentiary than he had at home, I don't have any further comment on that."
Both brothers initially pleaded not guilty to the charges, although police said they confessed the night of the murders, discussing their plans to go on a killing spree across several states. Robert Bever tried to hang himself with a sheet in June, 2016.
Also on Wednesday, a June 5, 2017 trial date was set for Michael Bever. The younger Bever pleaded not guilty.
His attorney, Rob Nigh, has argued that Michael should not be tried as an adult because he was a teenager when the crimes were committed.
"It is a tragedy of immeasurable proportion. Part of the tragedy is Michael Bever was a child, legally. Chronologically at the time of these events," said Michael’s attorney Rob Nigh.
Michael Bever's attorneys also say they are looking at a mental health defense.