May 11, 2018 / 9:45 PM / 6 months ago

Jury recommends life sentence for Oklahoma teen who killed his family

(Reuters) - A jury on Friday recommended life in prison with the possibility of parole for an Oklahoma teenager convicted of joining his older brother in bludgeoning and stabbing his parents and three siblings to death in 2015, prosecutors said.

The Tulsa County District Court jury that found Michael Bever, 19, guilty of five counts of first-degree murder on Wednesday returned with its sentencing decision after deliberating for at least two hours on Friday, Keli Blanchett, executive assistant for Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler, said by telephone.

Bever’s lawyer, Corbin Brewster, Tulsa County’s chief public defender, could not immediately be reached for comment, but he told reporters his client appreciated the jury’s recommendation, the Associated Press reported.

“It was a recognition of Michael Bever’s humanity and that sometimes people are responsible for doing bad things, but they’re still human beings and they still deserve a chance to make themselves better,” Brewster said, according to the AP.

On Thursday, the jury recommended Bever serve a sentence of 28 years in prison for assault and battery with intent to kill in connection with his attack on a sibling who survived, Blanchett said.

Judge Sharon Holmes will formally sentence Bever on July 24, and she will decide if the sentences run concurrently or consecutively, according to two Tulsa County district attorney spokeswomen.

Bever’s older brother, Robert, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in September 2016 after pleading guilty to five counts of murder. Michael Bever, who was charged as an adult along with his brother but was ineligible for the death penalty because of his age, opted to go to trial.

The brothers, who were 18 and 16 at the time of the murders, used knives, a hatchet and other weapons to kill their parents, David and April Bever, two brothers and a sister in July 2015 in their home in Broken Arrow, a suburb of Tulsa.

A sister who was 13 at the time survived the attack and a 2-year-old child was found unharmed.

Police said the brothers told them they wanted to be known as famous criminals and launch a nationwide killing spree.

Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York and Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Editing by Tom Brown and Leslie Adler

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