New Evidence In Dispute As Jury Selection Begins In Michael Bever Murder Trial
TULSA, Oklahoma - Jury selection started in the murder trial of Michael Bever on Monday.
He's charged with murdering his parents, two brothers, and a sister in Broken Arrow in 2015. Bever is also charged with stabbing another sister, who survived.
His brother, Robert Bever, has already pleaded guilty and is serving multiple life sentences for the murders and attempted murder.
The surviving sister is expected to be a key witness in the case.
Bever was not in court today because his attorneys didn't want him walked in front of the TV cameras.
His attorneys also asked the judge for Bever not to be shackled during the trial. They feel it's prejudicial and say he's "docile."
However, prosecutors feel that Bever should be restrained in some way during the trial.
The judge will decide that later.
The judge said there's probably "no one in the universe who hasn't heard of this case," so she asked the attorneys to focus on those jurors who promised they could be fair, despite what they've heard, and decide the case only on the evidence presented at trial.
Some of the evidence that may be presented just came to light a few days ago.
The surviving sister made new statements to the District Attorney and the defense says these statements would prejudice a jury if allowed at trial.
According to the DA, the new statement is that, while the girl was lying, bleeding in the front yard after being stabbed, she could hear her mother inside screaming as Michael stabbed her.
Bever’s attorneys say they’ve never had any statement saying that Michael was the one who stabbed the mother and they don’t think it’s proper to just learn of the statement now.
The DA says in addition to the sister being an eye-witness to the crimes, they have a 9-1-1 call made from 12-year-old Daniel before he died, plus police say Robert and Michael Bever set up cameras inside the home and kept their plan on a thumb drive. Police also say they have a full confession.
As for Bever’s defense, his attorneys have discussed using an insanity defense and there have been hints that Bever suffered abuse in his home.
Defense attorneys also accused a detective of mishandling critical evidence in the case.
Police say Michael and Robert murdered their family and ordered guns and thousands of rounds of ammo because they wanted to go on a killing spree.
Police say the brothers wanted to become so famous they would be on Wikipedia, which they now are.
More than 100 potential jurors were called Monday to fill out questionnaires. All answers on the questionnaires are confidential and will be destroyed after a jury is picked.
Attorneys will begin questioning the jurors on Tuesday, attempting to seat a jury of 12 to hear the case.