• Bever Trial: Jury reaches verdict


    Story Highlights

    • The trial for a Broken Arrow teen charged with killing five family members in 2015 concluded with a guilty verdict.
    • Michael Bever is accused in those murders. He was 16 at the time.
    • His older brother, Robert Bever, has already been convicted and is serving a life sentence in prison.

    TULSA, Okla. - The following are updates from the trial of Michael Bever. The most recent developments are at the top:

    Wednesday - May 9

    Closing arguments began Wednesday.

    The defense finished their closing argument after 3 p.m. Prosecutors are set to lay out their final arguments Wednesday afternoon.

    The jury began deliberating around 5 p.m.

    After 10 p.m., they found Bever guilty on all six charges.

    Tuesday - May 8

    Attorneys left the courtroom for an hour in private conference with the judge. 

    Detective Rhianna Russell was cross-examined.

    The defense rested their case on Tuesday afternoon. The jury will return Wednesday for closing arguments.

    Monday - May 7

    Robert Bever took the stand for several hours in the trial against his brother, Michael Bever, Monday.

    Prosecutors said Robert Bever changed his statement between the night of the incident and Friday's testimony. Robert reportedly acknowledged he'd changed the statement and claimed most of what he previously told police wasn't true, because he was role-playing and speaking as a ruthless, cold-blooded killer character.

    He said he had given Michael Bever some of the credit for the crime, because he thought they would become famous, and he did not want to leave Michael out. He told jurors Michael did not come up with the plan and Michael had not killed anyone.

    He claimed Michael helped him carry out the plan by tricking his younger siblings to open locked doors.

    Detectives in the Bever family homicides also took the stand.

    Detective Rhianna Russell said detective Gayla Adcock was taken off the case as lead detective just a few days after the crime, but she said she did not know why.

    Russell said she was not aware any evidence was misplaced or missing until November 2017, when the defense asked for it.

    Friday - May 4

    Robert Bever took the stand for the defense Friday. He testified about abuse he claims the family experienced.

    He told jurors the family often did not go outside for months. The children were allegedly expected to facilitate their own home schooling, and that Michael Bever was responsible for caring for the youngest child in the family. 

    Robert Bever reportedly started to cry while looking at pictures of the scene. 

    Thursday- May 3

    The state rested its case against Michael Bever on Thursday.

    Earlier in the day, jurors listened to the confessions recorded while Michael Bever spoke to detectives after his arrest. He allegedly told investigators the only person he hurt was his brother Christopher. He told investigators that he did not want to kill anyone, but that he had to. 

    Bever said his brother planned the killings because he hated everyone. He said he played along trying to keep from getting killed himself. 

    District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler responded about this kind of confession: "It's not unusual for folks to try and mitigate or limit their involvement in something.  The bottom line is he’s charged right along with his brother and acting in concert and you heard that he was in on the plan from the beginning so that’s part of the deal….when you’re in for a pinch, you’re in for a pound.”

    FOX23's Tiffany Alaniz shared a live update after hearing the first 35 minutes of the tape while jurors took a break:

    Wednesday- May 2

    Medical Examiner Dr. David Arboe took the stand Wednesday morning in the trial of Michael Bever, a Broken Arrow teen accused of killing his family members in 2015.

    Arboe testified about the autopsies he performed on Daniel, Christopher and Victoria Bever. He said all of them died from multiple sharp-force injuries. He declared their manner of death as homicide. 

    He also testified nothing in his findings ruled out a single attacker or weapon. 

    In surprising cross examination, defense attorneys asked the medical examiner if he would be surprised to find that Christopher Bever was 10 years old. In Arboe's report and in all other investigator information, Christopher Bever's age was always listed as seven. Defense attorneys say Christopher was actually 10 years old. 

    FOX23 asked the District Attorney's office about the discrepancy. They said they were checking that information. 

    A DNA expert took the stand in the afternoon.

    The expert testified Michael Bever's DNA was found on the handle of a knife at the scene and April Bever's blood and DNA were on his shirt and shorts.

    The expert also testified that Robert Bever had blood from April, David and Crystal Bever on him and DNA from all the other victims in the case.

    Tuesday - May 1

    An OSBI fingerprint expert took the stand in the trial Tuesday.

    Criminalist Megan Jones said many of the prints she examined were not good enough to match, but she said she found more than 30 palm and foot prints from Michael Bever in several areas of the house, including in the kitchen, bedrooms and on the door of the bathroom where two victims were found.

    Defense attorneys said Michael Bever's prints were not in the bathroom, but Jones said she was unable to match the bathroom prints to anyone. She said OSBI also tested several knives for fingerprints, but they were unable to match those as well.

    A medical examiner also took the stand and described the wounds that the family received in detail.

    Monday - April 30

    A crime scene investigator for the Broken Arrow Police Department took the stand Monday.

    Investigators Karen Weikel discussed evidence and how it was collected after the deaths of the Bever family members.

    Weikel said Michael Bever and his brother, Robert, both sat calmly and cooperatively while she collected their clothes, swabbed them for blood and took pictures of them.

    She said Michael Bever told her he didn't kill anyone and he was trying to stop someone from killing someone else. She also said Robert Bever had blood on his face, while Michael Bever did not.

    Defense attorneys discussed the possibility of mishandled evidence, referring to digital evidence collected by detective Gayla Adcock, who recently resigned over the controversy.

    The district attorney said though evidence may have been mishandled, that evidence did not have bearing on whether Michael Bever committed the crime.

    Friday - April 27

    The judge denied a motion Friday that would allow the jurors to see the Bever family's autopsy photos.

    Officials said the district attorney felt is was important to show the photos to give the jury insight into how the wounds happened.

    The jury did learn more about evidence gathered from the Bever home following the killings.

    Thursday - April 26

    On Thursday, April 26, the judge ruled that jurors will not see more than 100 photos from the medical examiners' autopsy of the victims. The judge said the photos would simply "inflame" the jury. However, the jury will see nearly 200 images from the scene of the Bever family home. 

    FOX23 Tiffany Alaniz says the family can be seen in many of the images. 

    The crime scene detective who processed the scene took the stand Thursday.

    Wednesday - April 25

    On Wednesday, April 25, the nurse who treated the surviving Bever sister took the stand. An investigator who took Robert and Michael Bever to the hospital after being apprehended also testified.

    The nurse told the court the sister wrote notes asking about her family as soon as she woke up from surgery. She had a breathing tube in her neck and could not speak.

    The investigator recalled hearing Michael say, "I guess I got a little bit crazy and my family is dead."

    The judge also made a ruling about how any pictures the jurors can see during the trial. The decision was not made available to us.

    Crime scene investigators are expected to testify Wednesday afternoon. 

    Tuesday- April 24

    Witness testimony continued Tuesday in the trial of a Broken Arrow teen accused of killing five members of his family in July 2015.

    Michael Bever is on trial for the killings. His brother, Robert, is serving a life sentence.

    Tuesday, the judge released the jury for the day as attorneys argued which pictures the jury should be allowed to see.

    Detectives described finding finding the victims from the killing Monday.

    Friday- April 20

    Friday, both sides gave open statements.

    FOX23's Tiffany Alaniz was at the courthouse and gave updates during a recess Friday on Facebook live:

    Part 1:

    Part 2:

    VIDEO: Surviving Bever sister testifies in brother's murder trial

    FOX23 will follow continue to follow the trial. Sign for free FOX23 Newsletters and download the FOX23 News app for updates sent straight to you.

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