Jurors have reached a verdict in the Michael Bever murder trial. He's accused of killing his parents and three of his siblings in July, 2015.
Bever is facing five counts of first-degree murder for the deaths and one count of assault and battery with intent to kill for a surviving sibling.
The jury was given the case just after 5:00 Wednesday evening after hearing three closing arguments - one from the prosecution, one from the defense and a final from the prosecution.
While in deliberation, the jury sent a note to the judge asking, “Does ‘in concert each with the other’ and ‘being a principal to the crime’ apply to the assault and battery with intent to kill?"
During jury instruction, the jury was told they have to consider Michael Bever a principal in the crimes before they can find him guilty.
The judge said she is going to refer them to instructions they already have and said they have the information they need to answer that question.
The prosecution read parts of Michael Bever's jail journal during closing arguments. One quote read was, "Once upon a time there were two brothers named Michael and Robert. They hated their family so they killed them. The end."
They said Michael also had drawn a picture of mass killer and cult leader Jim Jones and wrote "my hero" below it.
The prosecution talked about the inconsistencies between Robert's testimony and his confession to police. They said the jury has to decide whether to believe him or not.
Prosecutors said Michael is the one who started the "murderous rampage" when he distracted the surviving sister so Robert could attack her from the back.
She there were 141 total stab wounds and five people were dead. She said two people were necessary to complete the quintuple homicide, not one.
Assistant District Attorney Julie Doss told the jury Michael was fully involved in the planning of the murders. She said he gave money to buy the items, gave suggestions and was armed with three knives when he was arrested and that he admitted to stabbing his mother and two younger siblings.
The defense said Michael was a victim of his brother's mental illness with no intervention or help. And to understand what happened that night, one must understand the context of growing up inside that home of near complete isolation.
Bever's attorney, Corbin Brewster, said Michael was 16 going on 10 years old and got caught up in his mentally ill brother's fantasy turned reality nightmare.
Brewster also put up a picture of Robert and Michael during his closing argument and said with as violent and bloody as the crime scene was, Michael should have more blood on him. Brewster said the only blood Michael tested positive for was his mother's and his own. He said Robert, however, was saturated in blood, had it on his face and blood tested positive from everyone in the family.
Before closing arguments, and before jurors got their instructions, attorneys had several discussions about the instructions.
The defense asked the judge to limit the district attorney's closing arguments to one hour for the first one and 30 minutes for the second one. The judge, however, said she would not set limits for either side.
Bever’s attorney also wanted the judge to instruct the jury on duress, saying Michael Bever acted under duress of his brother Robert the night of the murders.
The judge denied that request.
The defense also asked the judge to include second-degree murder and manslaughter in jury instructions, not just first-degree murder, but the judge said the law did not support that.
Now the jury is being asked to determine if Michael Bever is guilty or not guilty.
If they convict Bever, the jury will return to the courtroom, likely Thursday, and could hear from more witnesses on both sides. Then, they would recommend a sentence of either life or life without parole.
Michael Bever's older brother, Robert, pleaded guilty in their family members' deaths.
Lori Fullbright Closing Arguments Part 1 and 2:
Taylor Newcomb Jury Deliberations/Closing Arguments Recap:
Bever’s attorney wanted judge to instruct jury on duress, saying Michael acted under duress of his Brother Robert, the night of the murders. Judge said no.— Lori Fullbright (@LoriFullbright) May 9, 2018
Defense asked judge to include 2nd degree murder & manslaughter in jury instructions, not just 1st degree murder. Judge said law did not support that.— Lori Fullbright (@LoriFullbright) May 9, 2018
DA argued that if ever there was a case that showed mailmen aforethought, it was this one where the brothers planned the murders for weeks, months ahead of time.— Lori Fullbright (@LoriFullbright) May 9, 2018
Defense asked judge to limit DA’s closing arguments to 1 hour for first one, 30 mins for second one. Judge said she would not set limits for either side.— Lori Fullbright (@LoriFullbright) May 9, 2018
Closing arguments happening now in Michael Bever’s trial. We’ve heard from one prosecutor and Michael’s attorney already. Now the prosecutions gets to argue one more time before the jury deliberates.— Taylor Newcomb (@TheNewcOn6) May 9, 2018
We finally got to see some of what’s inside Michael’s jail journal.— Taylor Newcomb (@TheNewcOn6) May 9, 2018
“Once upon a time, there were two brothers named Michael and Robert. They hated their family, so they killed them. The end.”
Michael had also drawn a picture of mass killer/cult leader Jim Jones, and wrote a caption that said “My hero” below it.— Taylor Newcomb (@TheNewcOn6) May 9, 2018
The prosecution talked about the inconsistencies between Robert’s testimony and and his confession to police. Prosecutors say the jury has to decide whether to believe him or not.— Taylor Newcomb (@TheNewcOn6) May 9, 2018
Prosecutor says Michael is the one who started the “murderous rampage” when he distracted the surviving sister so Robert could attack her from the back. She said TWO people were necessary to complete this quintuple homicide, not just one.— Taylor Newcomb (@TheNewcOn6) May 9, 2018
“Michael and Robert wanted to be famous. They got it. They got their wish.” —Prosecutor Julie Doss.— Taylor Newcomb (@TheNewcOn6) May 9, 2018
I have to head back into the courtroom now. I will do a full update on Facebook Live as soon as the jury goes back for deliberation. https://t.co/dQlu2ZaQ7p
NOTE FROM THE JURY: Jury sent note asking judge:— Taylor Newcomb (@TheNewcOn6) May 10, 2018
“Does ‘in concert each with the other’ and ‘being a principle to the crime’ count for assault and battery with intent to kill?”
Judge responded that yes, those concepts apply to all counts.
That’s the count that relates to the attack of the surviving sister who was 13-years-old at the time of the attacks.— Taylor Newcomb (@TheNewcOn6) May 10, 2018
Michael Bever Jury sends out note to judge asking if being a “principal to the crime applies to the assault and battery charge.” Judge to send them a note back, saying it applies to all counts. Been deliberating 5 hours.@newson6 pic.twitter.com/hUHx2hbiWv— Lori Fullbright (@LoriFullbright) May 10, 2018