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Notes from the courtroom as Robert Bever takes stand in brother's murder trial

Posted at 1:48 PM, May 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-04 18:52:03-04

TULSA -- Robert Bever took the stand in his brother Michael’s murder trial Friday. 

Robert pleaded guilty and was sentenced to numerous life sentences for killing his family in 2015.

Robert talked about the mental disorders he has since been diagnosed with. He said he has major depressive disorder with psychotic features, PTSD and said that some doctors believe he has borderline personality disorder, autism and schizophrenia. 

He spoke about their childhood. Robert said they were very sheltered by their parents and rarely left the house. He said his parents had a hard childhood. 

“They never thought we were good enough and wanted us to be better,” Robert testified. 

Robert said for the most part they did not do any sports or activities. He said he was in a youth court program and a bowling league for one season. 

Robert said they could go months before leaving the house. 

He said their father, David, would frequently lock himself in his office in the house.

Robert said there were locks all over the house and said his dad would go to the casino once a week. 

Robert said the parents would go to the grocery store every once in a while but they stayed in the house other than that. 

Their mother, April, locked herself in her office most of the time. 

Robert referred to he and his siblings as “self-educated.” 

Robert said he was the only person who went to school outside the home and it was in pre-school. He said he was molested and he was pulled out of the school. 

Robert said they had to educate themselves. He said their mother April would find websites that they could use for learning.

Robert said he taught Michael third through fifth grade. He said by the way Michael wrote, it seemed like he had dyslexia.

Michael was yelled at by his father because of his speech impediment, according to Robert. 

Robert recalled his father one time shaking him because he had a stutter. 

“Stop and don’t talk until you can speak clearly,” Robert recalled his father telling him.

They talked in depth about the food situation at their house. Robert said they frequently ate Ramen Noodles and peanut butter sandwiches. He said his mother ate TV dinners and his dad ate grilled cheese, chicken, chips and olives. Robert said their father kept the chips on the top shelf so the kids couldn’t get to them. 

Robert recalled playing basketball with his father in their backyard. He said he and his father tripped over one another and they both fell. He said his father threw a shoe at his face and they never played again. 

Robert said their family was estranged from their grandparents and aunts and uncles. He said they rarely saw them. 

He said his parents were “paranoid” and would not let them talk to strangers, or even to tell them their names. 

Robert said their father installed security cameras in their bedrooms and hallways. He said his father would watch the cameras from his phone and sometimes bring up what he saw. 

Robert also recalled two instances when Michael was punched, shoved and kicked by their father. He called that “common behavior” for their dad. 

Robert also spoke in depth about how he role played different characters online. He said he tried to get into character so he bought body armor to dress up like them. He said there were more than 100 characters. Many of the characters he recalled went insane. Some of them committed mass killings. 

He said his parents knew about the body armor that he bought. He also said he bought a set for Michael.

Robert had a job near their house. That is where he got the money to buy it. 

He acknowledged buying knives. He said some of them went with his costumes. 

Robert got emotional looking at a picture of a hatchet he said he used to trim their shrubs. When asked why he was emotional he said because of all the blood in the picture.

Robert started sobbing and said “I’m sorry.” He went on to say “I don’t know what I was thinking. I don’t know what I was thinking.” 

He was escorted out of the courtroom. 

Several times Michael cried during the testimony.

Jurors also started crying when Robert broke down.

More than once, Robert said “when I killed my family.” 

After lunch, Robert recalled the killings in very descriptive detail.

He said his mother often told him he did not have an identify of his own. During the killings, Robert decided to play "Robert Bever" as part of his role playing. He wanted that character to be cold blooded and ruthless.

He described going up behind his sister Crystal and stabbing her in the neck in his room. He said she was the first person he stabbed. Robert talked about the feeling of her blood in his hand.

Robert said Michael was in the room but had his back to him and Crystal. He said Michael turned around and asked "Robert, what are you doing?"

He told the jury his every move during the stabbings but said Michael only persuaded their siblings to open the locked doors they were hiding behind.

The 21-year old said his mother prayed for him out loud while he stabbed her.

He said his father, David, asked him why he was doing it. Robert replied "I must." He recalled his father saying he did not have to do it and then dying.

The prosecution drilled into Robert with questions about his previous recorded admissions to police. Attorneys said they were completely contradictory.

Robert said he only told police Michael was involved in stabbing two of their siblings so he could get credit in the event they became famous. He said he does not give him credit anymore because he did not participate in the actual killings.

Robert now has tattoos on his knuckles that he got in prison. One says "LWOP x 5" which stands for "life without parole times five." His other hand says "life." Robert is sentenced to five life sentences without parole for the killings of his five family members. He has a life sentence for attempting to kill his sister, Crystal.

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