Teen Brothers Wanted To Become Famous Killers — And They Started By Butchering Their Family

Teen Brothers Wanted To Become Famous Killers — And They Started By Butchering Their Family

Family annihilators are not uncommon. In the case of the Bever family, the two eldest brothers carried out a familicide of shocking proportions. Termed the Broken Arrow Killings, Michael and Robert brutally murdered all but two members of their family in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, on July 22, 2015. Robert Bever, 18 years old at the time of the murders, and younger brother Michael Bever, 16 at the time, plotted to kill their entire family for years.

The pair was obsessed with serial killers and wanted to gain fame and notoriety by carrying out a mass murder. Many familial murders go unsolved, but the brothers confessed everything to the police, mostly to receive publicity for their crimes.

They Told Their Sister They Wanted To Show Her Something On The Computer, Then Cut Her Throat

Based on the boys' behavior, the Bever family didn't have any idea what lay in store on the evening of July 22, 2015. Because it seemed like any other night at the Bever household, family members were susceptible to Michael and Robert's traps.

When their 13-year-old sister, Crystal, walked by their room, they told her they wanted to show her something on the computer. Crystal entered and went toward where Michael was sitting. Then, without warning, Robert grabbed her, covered her mouth, and cut her throat. She screamed and other family members came running into the room.

Michael and Robert cut Crystal's throat in their bedroom. However, the cut wasn't fatal. Crystal screamed and ran to warn the rest of the family about the attack. The boys stabbed their mother, who came to help Crystal, over 40 times. Michael and Robert eventually killed her with blunt force trauma. The brothers then stabbed their father over 50 times, their 12-year-old brother nine times, their seven-year-old brother six times, and their five-year-old sister 18 times, mostly in the neck. In the end, they'd killed five family members and seriously injured another.

Fortunately, their 12-year-old brother Daniel was able to call 911. He told the operator "my brother’s attacking my family," and reportedly said to someone, "Please don't murder me." A deeper male voice said, "Hello," and the operator heard screaming and crying before the line went dead.

Despite how quickly and mercilessly the boys killed, there were two survivors. The first family member the boys attacked, Crystal Bever, lived. Although her brothers cut her throat, she managed to run outside where she passed out on the front lawn. Her brothers assumed she was dead and dragged her back inside so they could dismember her along with the rest of the family. She recalled hearing her younger siblings screaming inside the house. She played dead until she heard an officer break down the front door, and they then carried her to safety. She quickly identified her brothers as the perpetrators.

The other survivor was a two-year-old girl, their youngest sister. According to the boys, they intended to cut off the toddler's head with an ax, but they didn't have time before they had to flee. She was completely unharmed, and she stayed safe in a room upstairs.

They Intended To Kill Many More People

Once captured by law enforcement, the boys admitted they intended to dismember their family and put them in the attic. They would then grab their ammo and weapons and steal the family car. They planned to go on a mass shooting spree in as many locations as possible.

Robert and Michael planned to go to different cities outside of Oklahoma and kill people in each one. Their goal was to kill as many as 100 people.

When police searched the Bever home after arresting the brothers, they discovered cameras Robert and Michael set up to record their murders. An affidavit confirmed the thumb drive had some form of live footage on it but was not specific about what it contained. Robert admitted that his plan was to create two videos: one would show the gory aftermath of the slaying, including the bodies, and the other would show only the crime scene without the bodies. He planned to post the latter online.

Robert Was Planning To Kill His Family Since He Was 13 Years Old

Although the attack happened seemingly without warning, it was not a spur-of-the-moment decision. Robert, 18 at the time of the murders, planned to kill his family since he was only 13 years old. It wasn't until years later that he discovered his younger brother, Michael, also had a preoccupation with murder. The pair openly talked about admiring mass murderers and about killing their family. Their sister Crystal, who survived the attack, said she reported the behavior to the siblings' mother, but she wrote it off as "boys being boys."

The boys often stayed up late at night talking, and once they both realized they were both interested in murder, they began to formulate a plan. They originally wanted to attack in September but moved their timeline to July when they felt they were fully prepared to start killing.

The Bever Parents Were Allegedly Physically And Psychologically Abusive

The Bever family, according to accounts from the older surviving victim as well as the two brothers, was hardly a healthy one. April and David Bever, Robert and Michael's parents, were physically and psychologically abusive to the children. Robert said he felt his parents hated children and only continued to have kids for the tax breaks. They reported being thrown across the room and watching their father abuse their mom.

On top of that, none of the kids had ever been to school and they were rarely allowed to leave the house. The children may have been homeschooled, but it's unclear as they weren't active members of the homeschooling community. The kids only had each other to play with, and Crystal said she and her siblings didn't have any outside friends.

Robert Attempted Suicide While Imprisoned

When they were arrested, the boys were preoccupied with making sure police found a thumb drive that contained information about the killings. When speaking with detectives, Robert recounted everything they did as well as everything they were planning to do. Robert laughed, smiled, and grew excited when he detailed their actions. When asked why, Robert said there were too many people in the world, and that killing more than one person would make him god-like. Robert thought that killing was not, by nature, a bad thing, and if he and his brother just happened to kill one bad person in their efforts, they were helping society anyway.

Robert tried to hang himself with a sheet while in jail. A guard caught him in the act, cut him down, and placed him under suicide watch.

Robert Is Serving Life Without The Possibility Of Parole, Michael's Will Likely Receive Life With The Possibility Of Parole

Robert's trial was fairly straightforward. Initially, both boys pleaded not guilty and were tried as adults. But eventually, Robert changed his plea to guilty and accepted life imprisonment without the possibility of parole in September 2016. He is now serving his time.

Because Michael was 16 at the time of the killing, there was some debate over how he should be tried. The courts eventually decided to try him as an adult. The defense argued insanity, and Michael saw numerous mental health professionals. Police mishandled some evidence, which made his trial even more difficult. One hard drive that contained evidence was lost, and Crystal's diary, which allegedly contained details of abuse in the household, ended up in an auction house. Several pages were missing from the journal. On May 11, 2018, a jury found Michael guilty and recommended a life sentence with the possibility of parole.

During the planning, Robert was the ringleader. He got a job at a call center when he was 17, and all the money he earned went toward buying knives, body armor, a helmet, bullets, and guns. He particularly wanted guns because, as he told it, his parents hated firearms. They compiled their armory for months, ordering guns and picking them up at various shops. Once they had a date picked to carry out the familicide, Michael and Robert also arranged for a delivery of ammunition to the Bever family's home. The brothers wanted to be fully armed when they went into phase two of their big plan, which involved driving through different towns and shooting strangers.

Robert and Michael's horrifying murder spree left many people asking a simple question: Why? The boys' parents isolated the children, and reports emerged that they allegedly abused the siblings physically and mentally.

The boys had an intense fascination with murder. Both looked up to the perpetrators of the Columbine massacre and wanted to outdo them. They also admired James Eagan Holmes, who committed mass murder in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, in 2012. Detective Rhianna Russell interviewed Michael, and he told her they wanted a Wikipedia page and media coverage. Russel said the brothers wanted to kill at least 50 people.

After Daniel Bever called 911, police quickly rushed to the scene. When they knocked on the door, no one answered, so they eventually broke it down. They found 13-year-old Crystal lying in a pool of blood, calling for help.

The brothers escaped from the back door of the house when they heard police arrived. They went to a wooded area near the house; police K-9 units quickly found and apprehended the boys. Robert was armed with a knife, but he gave up peacefully. One of the boys mentioned, unprompted, that there was a thumb drive in the house the contained plans for the killing.

In March 2017, the Bever family home caught fire in the middle of the night. By the time firefighters arrived, the house was engulfed in flames, and it took them about an hour to get the burn under control. Police couldn't determine what caused the fire. City Counselor Mike Lester was fundraising to buy the Bevers' former home, demolish it, and turn it into a community park. One month after the fire, the city bulldozed the remains of the home.
Teen Brothers Wanted To Become Famous Killers — And They Started By Butchering Their Family
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