Kunzweiler wants equal field in Bever case

Posted at 6:36 PM, Nov 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-20 20:34:06-05

TULSA -- District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler asked for an equal playing field in Michael Bever's upcoming trial in court on Monday.

Michael Bever is charged with five-counts of first degree murder in the 2015 stabbing death of his parents and three siblings in Broken Arrow.

His older brother, Robert Bever, already pleaded guilty to all charges. He was given six life sentences in 2016. 

Kunzweiler said Michael Bever's attorneys indicated they might use an insanity defense. He wants his doctors to be allowed the same line of questioning to determine the defendant's mental health as the defense attorneys. 

In court Monday, the District Attorney read from notes taken by the defense team's doctors who are evaluating Michael Bever's mental health. One of three doctors wrote that Michael Bever had "severe anxiety and distress" when he talked about the crime. 

Kunzweiler said the notes do not blatantly say whether the doctors were able to question the defendant about the specific facts in the case. 

The District Attorney asked Judge Sharon Holmes to determine based on the doctor's notes, if she believed doctors spoke to Michael Bever about specific facts in the case to determine his mental health. 

The prosecution said their doctor was not able to speak to him on case specifics. Kunzweiler said the psychologist hired by the state was told by the defendant that he was happy to talk with him but was advised by his attorneys not to speak about case facts. 

"It shouldn't have anything to do about whether he is guilty of the crime," Kunzweiler said. "It has everything to do with whether he possessed the requisite intent to commit the crime and I just want a level playing field." 

When asked if he thought a psychologist can determine if someone is mentally insane without hearing about the facts of the case, Tulsa County Chief Public Defender Corbin Brewster said, "according to the Court of Criminal Appeals, yes." 

Brewster said the state's psychologist ambushed Michael Bever. He said they were not informed that the doctor was going to meet with their client. 

Kunzweiler responded by saying that the defense team has changed and the evaluation was communicated to Michael Bever's original attorneys. Former Tulsa County Chief Public Defender Rob Nigh was on the case originally. He has since passed away. 

Michael Bever did not appear in Monday's hearing.

Judge Holmes will decide what will happen with the questioning moving forward on Dec. 1. She called the topics brought up "crucial and complex issues" and said she wanted to be well advised on it before making a decision. 

Michael Bever is scheduled for trial in April of 2018. 


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