The murders of the Bever family are sometimes referred to as the Broken Arrow Killings – in reference to the location of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma where it all happened.
We will start with some background into the Bever’s.
In 2015, the Bever family lived at 709 Magnolia Ct, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. The family consisted of David Bever, 52; April Bever, 44; Robert Bever, 18 (at the time of the attack); Michael Bever, 16 (at the time of the attack); Daniel Bever, 12; Christopher Bever, 7; Victoria Bever, 5; Crystal Bever, 13 (at the time of the attack); and Autumn Bever, 2 (at the time of the attack).
David Bever worked in the tech field while April homeschooled their children. Neighbors described the family to be reclusive, but friends remembered them differently. In an interview a friend of April’s recalled them driving in a snowstorm to bring her son a TV, since his television had stopped working, and stated that April had a big heart.
A lot of the information about what happened on July 22 comes from a survivor of the massacre, Crystal Bever – who was 13 at the time.
At around 11.30pm that night, Crystal went to Robert and Michael’s room to tell them to do the dishes. She recalled seeing them put on their body armor, and she said they had multiple knives laid out on their beds. Crystal also heard Michael ask his brother, “Should we do it right now?” Robert replied “yes”. Michael then told Crystal to check something on his computer screen. As Michael distracted her, Robert slit his sister’s throat. Crystal fought back; but Robert was able to stab her multiple times as she ran out of the house. As she was running, she could hear her mother, April, screaming. Crystal was dragged back inside the house but could not remember by who. April was stabbed 48 times in the face, chest, abdomen, neck, and arms.
A 911 call was made at about this time by Daniel who was 12 years old. He said that his brother was attacking the family.
Screaming, commotion and a male voice were heard in the background before the line went dead. Dispatchers tracked the address by searching the number. After a failed attempt to call David Bever, the father, they dispatched officers to the scene.
Christopher (7) and Victoria (5) had been hiding from their brothers in a bathroom. In an interrogation, Michael told detectives that he had tricked his siblings into opening the door; he told them Robert was going to kill him if they did not open it. Once they opened the door, they were both stabbed to death. In the same interrogation, Michael stated he stabbed his brother Christopher in the neck. Christopher was stabbed 21 times in the back, chest, head, and neck; Victoria endures 23 stab wounds – ranging from her abdomen area to her face.
There seems to be some big noting by both the murdering brothers as each tried to take responsibility for these killings. In pre-trial statements, Michael told detectives that he had stabbed both Victoria and Christopher, though Robert would later take credit for killing them.
The next victim was to be Daniel Bever – the kid who called 911.
Daniel was hiding in his father’s office and. Michael tricked him the same way he did his other siblings. He begged Daniel to open the door before Robert killed him. Daniel opened the door to hear Michael tell Robert, “He’s all yours”. Daniel was on the phone with the police still. Michael grabbed the phone from him and said “Hello”,which you can hear in the 911 call. He then smashed the phone while Robert stabbed his younger brother 21 times in the stomach, chest, neck, and back.
The father of the family, David came out to investigate what the commotion was at some point. Robert stabbed him 28 times to his back, chest, and abdomen.
When police arrived at the house, they found blood on the front porch and could faintly hear someone calling for help. They entered the premises and found five members of the Bever family dead. The two survivors were Crystal who was severely injured and the baby Autumn (2) who was thankfully unharmed.
Police found knives, hatchets and protective gear at the home.
Robert and Michael were not in the home when police arrived. They had attempted to flee into a wooded area behind their home. Police searched the area with dogs and the pair were quickly found.
One of the dogs attacked Michael as he was arrested.
Robert and Michael were both arrested and charged with 5 counts of 1st Degree Murder and 1 count Aggravated Assault and Battery with a Deadly Weapon. No bail was given, and they were remanded.
After the arrests, more information about the motivation behind the murders came out.
The brothers wanted to kill their family and then go on a cross-country killing spree. Their plan was to kill each member of their family silently and stealthily which seems to have been a bit of a fail. Robert Bever had told the court that he had planned to decapitate his 2-year-old sister but had forgotten to.
After they murdered their family, they were going to clean up and dispose of the bodies. According to Broken Arrow detectives, they were going to cut the bodies into pieces. They would store the body parts in bins and place them in the attic. The plan was to do this quietly and then go on a killing spree.
They had ordered multiple guns to be delivered to a local gun store and 2,000 rounds of ammunition that were scheduled to arrive at the house the day after the murders.
Robert and Michael had a goal to kill 50 to 100 people between Oklahoma and Washington.
One of the brothers told police that their murderous plans had been stored on a flash drive in the home – police found the flash drive on the property. They also recovered computer equipment and video surveillance cameras, which they believed recorded the familicide as they were located near where three of the victims’ bodies were found. It was later determined that the brothers planned to make two videos, one depicting the bodies of their family that would be shown to investigators and prosecutors, the other without the bodies that could be posted online.
Another possible contributing factor in this case is that David Bever was allegedly abusive. Defense attorneys stated that David Bever was physically and verbally abusive toward his children, according to Crystal Bever’s later testimony. Robert Bever claimed that both of his parents were hateful and abusive to him and all of his siblings. He said his parents would often talk about people they hated and would refer to the biblical Apocalypse as “a retribution thing for everything they hated about the world”.
The brothers were first arraigned in court on August 3, 2015 and they both pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. The hearing date for them kept being pushed out until it finally happened on February 23, 2016.
Robert Bever changed his mind and pled guilty on all charges. The judge sentenced him to serve life without parole for each of the 5 murder counts and received an additional life sentence for the assault and battery with a deadly weapon charge. It is believed he pled guilty to avoid the death penalty. He would testify during his brother’s trial, taking full blame for each murder.
Michael Bever entered a plea of not guilty and appealed the court’s decision to put him on trial as an adult. His lawyers also put in a motion to seal all information to the public, stating that they would be under public scrutiny. The court denied both motions.
While Michael was in jail, he kept a journal that was described to be “morbid and violent” by a deputy.
Michael was found guilty on all counts. Michael received 5 consecutive life sentences for each murder count and 28 years for the assault with a deadly weapon with the possibility of parole, after 85% of time is served. Michaels lawyers filed an appeal, stating that serving 5 consecutive life sentences was unconstitutional, and did not give their client a chance of getting out of prison. The appeal was denied.
Michael Bever is currently serving time in the Lexington Correctional Center.
Robert Bever is currently serving time in the Joseph Harp Correctional Center. While inside, he got both his hands tattooed. One saying LWOP X5 (Life Without Parole, 5 counts) and the other hand spells out FIVE.
Both sisters were adopted to the same home.
On June 17, 2016, Robert Bever attempted to hang himself in his jail cell with a bed sheet. He was uninjured in the incident and was moved to suicide watch.
In mid-February 2017, Broken Arrow’s city council announced a plan to raise money through the Tulsa Community Foundation for the acquisition of the Bever family home. They hoped that enough money could be raised to purchase the house from the Bevers’ mortgage holder and lending company, its then owner. If enough funds were raised, it was planned to tear the house down and, in its place, create a memorial park and garden, titled “The Bever Family-First Responders Memorial Park.” The house was destroyed in a fire on March 18, 2017. On March 27, 2019, Reflection Park was dedicated in an official ceremony.