After listening to the 911 call made by a victim in a gruesome July quintuple homicide in Broken Arrow, District Judge William Musseman ordered that city to release a transcript of the recording.
Attorneys for the two suspects in that crime, 18-year-old Robert Bever and 16-year-old Michael Bever, had sought to get the phone call sealed.
District Judge William Musseman said that he had reviewed the recording, as well as a batch of records the city of Broken Arrow plans to release to media who have made requests under the Oklahoma Open Records Act.
Included in that batch of records is a transcript of the 911 call.
“I believe (the transcript) is responsive to the requests made in this case,” Musseman said.
The brothers were arrested July 23 after Broken Arrow police found five people — 52-year-old David Bever, 41-year-old April Bever, 12-year-old Daniel Bever, 7-year-old Christopher Bever and 5-year-old Victoria Bever — stabbed and hacked to death inside the family’s home.
Police there were responding to a 911 call from either Daniel or Christopher Bever, BAPD spokesman Cpl. Leon Calhoun said. It was originally thought that the call was made from a surviving 13-year-old female victim, due to the quiet nature of the voice, Calhoun said.
Calhoun said the caller mentioned that “his brother” was attacking the family, but police said it appeared a struggle ensued during the phone call.
Both brothers were found by a police dog in a wooded area not far from the home. They were charged on Friday with five counts each of first-degree murder and one count of assault and battery with intent to kill and pleaded not guilty on Monday.
Nigh, who represents Michael Bever, and Cheryl Ramsey, who represents Robert Bever, argued that since Oklahoma’s Open Records Act does not specifically refer to 911 calls as being open records, that legislators left them out of the act intentionally.
The call, Nigh argued, could prejudice a potential jury and could harm the investigation into the deaths.
Musseman first listened to a copy of the two-minute recording, then emerged declared the audio was not clear enough to discern what all was said. Only after Broken Arrow City Attorney Beth Anne Wilkening returned with a better copy of the phone call did Musseman make his ruling.
No records have been released by Broken Arrow since the July 23 attacks. Wilkening said last week the city planned on releasing the phone call and a number of other documents requested by the media on Aug. 4.
But after Nigh and Ramsey filed their motion to seal the 911 call on Friday, the release of those records was halted, and phone calls to Broken Arrow’s city attorneys office were not returned.
Wilkening said following Wednesday’s hearing that the phone call and other records would be released Thursday by 5 p.m.