A 16-year-old Oklahoma boy will be tried as an adult in the gruesome stabbing deaths of five family members, a judge ruled Monday.
Michael Bever and his 18-year-old brother, Robert Bever, have pleaded not guilty to stabbing their parents and three siblings to death inside their Oklahoma home.
Robert and Michael Bever — who were charged as adults — face multiple counts of murder for allegedly using various weapons, including a hatchet, to kill their parents, David and April Bever, two brothers, and a sister in their Broken Arrow home on July 22.
Defense attorney Rob Nigh, who had sought to certify Michael Bever as a juvenile delinquent, said he would appeal the judge's decision to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals and, if necessary, the U.S. Supreme Court, the Associated Press reported.
"He's a child," Nigh said after Monday's hearing. "The reality of the situation is we should not have children going to the state penitentiary."
Also on Monday, autopsy results released by the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office reveal the five family members were stabbed dozens of times and died of multiple, sharp-force injuries. According to the report, the father had at least 28 total wounds to his body, while the mother had at least 48 total wounds.
The Tulsa World reported that the ages of the dead siblings ranged from 5 to 12.
A 2-year-old sister was found unharmed after the attack. A critically wounded 13-year-old sister also survived the attack, authorities said.
The brothers each face five counts of first-degree murder and assault and battery with intent to kill.
The brothers were arrested a short while after the bodies were found, according to Fox 23. They had fled out of the back door when they heard officers arrive, but were tracked to a wooded area near the home by a police canine unit, NBC News said.
"I've been here 19 years and I don't know if we've had more than three homicides in a year," Broken Arrow Police Cpl. Leon Calhoun, the department spokesperson, told the Associated Press. "This is the worst single criminal event in Broken Arrow history."
Broken Arrow Police Department Sgt. Thomas Cooper told NBC News that the incident was "unprecedented" for the suburb, population 100,000.
"This is a relatively safe community, smaller than Tulsa and what you might call a bedroom community," Cooper said.
He added: "The crime scene has taken a pretty heavy toll on officers who have come out here. It hits close to home, especially when the victims are adults and juveniles. Our officers have a lot to take in."
Francis Whittaker is a homepage editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Francis Whittaker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Claudia Koerner is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Claudia Koerner at email@example.com.
Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.
Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.