Tulsa suburb struggles to cope with horrors in home

Justin Juozapavicius
Associated Press

Broken Arrow, Okla. — People flock to the Tulsa suburb of Broken Arrow for its idyllic low-crime and low-drama scene. A lush green belt encircles the Indian Springs III subdivision, where residents zoom around in golf carts and silver-haired homeowners are usually home to take delivery of the mail.

But neighbors are struggling to make sense of the horrors discovered in a gray barn-like home of a family of nine — the parents and three children stabbed to death and a fourth child wounded but alive near the front door.

“It’s a major blow to this neighborhood,” resident Bill Whitworth said, sitting on the front of a John Deere tractor.

What is even more shocking to locals is that two teenage sons in the family were apprehended and are expected to be charged in the deaths. A fifth sibling, a 2-year-old girl, was found unharmed and transferred to state custody.

“I feel so bad for everyone who walks into that house. You can see it in the faces of the officers when they come out,” neighbor Patricia Statham said.

Police identified one of the suspects as 18-year-old Robert Bever, who was tracked by a dog to nearby woods and apprehended along with his 16-year-old brother, whose name was not released because he is a juvenile. In a mug shot released by the Broken Arrow police late Thursday, Robert Bever’s face appears to be dirty and his hair is ruffled.

Neighbor Matt Jacobsen on Friday described the younger brother as a follower and as “nerdy” given a fascination with computers and technology.

Police Cpl. Leon Calhoun identified the dead parents as David Bever, 52, and his wife April, 44. The three children found dead were boys ages 12 and 7, and a 5-year-old girl, Calhoun said. The two survivors were a 13-year-old girl, who was injured, and the 2-year-old girl. None of the children’s names were released.

“Anytime someone murders their family members, as young as 5, I don’t see how there could be a mental process for that,” said Calhoun.

Broken Arrow police say they couldn’t recall ever being summoned to the home, which tax records show among the larger and most valuable houses on the block.

Calhoun said if the family had had any previous interaction with police, it would have been “nothing significant.”

Neighbors said they knew the family — in part because it stood in contrast with others in a close-knit neighborhood.

Whitworth, 46, who drives a bread truck, said his 18-year-old son was the same age as suspect Robert Bever.

“My son never had an opportunity to play with him because their parents wouldn’t allow them to play with the other kids,” Whitworth said. The only time he’d see the family was when “I saw the Suburban backing out of the driveway.”

Helen Hoagland, 88 and a neighborhood resident for 42 years, described the children as home-schooled and kept on a tight leash. The family had helped with neighborhood Christmas decorations, but stopped after two years.

“It’s absolutely crazy,” Hoagland said as she watched police work the crime scene before dawn.

Statham, 74, said she would see the children cutting grass or playing outside and would have never expected trouble.

“Usually the worst thing we have here is kids with baseball bats destroying mailboxes,” she said.