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Brothers plead not guilty to stabbing five family members to death

Court: Robert Bever
Court: Robert Bever

Two brothers charged with stabbing their parents and three siblings to death at their Oklahoma home last month have pleaded not guilty.

Eighteen-year-old Robert Bever and his 16-year-old brother Michael appeared in court via video.

A judge entered not guilty pleas on their behalf and scheduled a preliminary hearing for October 28.

Lawyers for the two declined to comment.

The brothers are charged with five counts of first-degree murder each in the July 22 deaths of their parents, two brothers and a sister at their home in Broken Arrow, a Tulsa suburb.

They are also accused of stabbing their 13-year-old sister, who survived. A toddler was found in the home unharmed.

An Oklahoma city official said last Tuesday it wouldn’t release a recording of the 911 call made following the horrific crime. 

Authorities initially said the call, described by Broken Arrow police sergeant Thomas Cooper as “gruesome”, would be released on Monday, but an assistant to the city attorney indicated on Tuesday that it would not be released because it is part of the investigation into the deaths of the five members of the Bever family. 
A media law expert and advocate for public access to records disputed that argument, saying “the investigation doesn’t begin until the 911 call” is made.
“If there’s a gray area, disclosure should be favored over withholding,” said Joey Senat, an associate professor at the Oklahoma State University School of Media and Strategic Communications.
The killings of David Bever, 52, his wife April Bever, 44, and their children Daniel Bever, 12, Christopher Bever, seven, and Victoria Bever, five, have been classified as homicides, said Amy Elliott, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma medical examiner’s office. The final autopsy reports have not been released, Elliott said.