A 16-year old from Broken Arrow charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing deaths of his parents and three siblings will be tried as an adult.
Special judge Martha Rupp Carter rejected a request from Michael Bever’s attorney to certify him as a juvenile delinquent or youthful offender. District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said he has no latitude in these matters under state law.
“If you’re 15, 16 or 17 and I charge you with murder in the first degree, you’re going to be charged as an adult, and so that’s not anything that I can say, ‘Well, today I choose to do something different,’” Kunzweiler said.
Public Defender Rob Nigh said he is hoping for a hearing to assess whether Michael Bever could be rehabilitated through Oklahoma’s juvenile system.
“The statute as it presently reads prevents us from seeking even a hearing, and that’s the part we believe to be unconstitutional,” Nigh said.
Nigh is focusing on brain development, which continues well into a person’s twenties.
“The clear evidence from the medical community is that the frontal lobe is not fully developed in a 16-year-old,” Nigh said. “There are significant brain differences between a child and an adult.”
His attorneys say Michael Bever suffers from mental illness.
Bever has a preliminary hearing January 22nd. His 18-year-old brother, Robert, is due in court the same day. Both have pleaded not guilty.
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