- Associated Press - Thursday, August 20, 2015

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - A Tulsa County judge has approved a request to increase legal representation for a teenager charged in last month’s slayings of his parents and three siblings as prosecutors consider the death penalty.

Robert Davis Bever, 18, and his 16-year-old brother, Michael Bever, are each charged with five counts of first-degree murder in the July 22 deaths of parents David Bever, 52, and April Bever, 44, and siblings Daniel Bever, 12; Christopher Bever, 7; and Victoria Bever, 5.

The brothers were also charged with one count of assault and battery with intent to kill involving multiple stabbings inflicted on a 13-year-old sister who survived the attack.

Robert Bever’s attorney, Cheryl Ramsey, sought additional help in the case since Bever is eligible for the death penalty, the Tulsa World (https://bit.ly/1J6Tgqh ) reported. The younger Bever is charged as an adult, but his age bars him from any possible death sentence.

“Because counsel faces what are effectively two different trials - one regarding whether the defendant is guilty of a capital crime, and the other concerning whether the defendant should be sentenced to death - providing quality representation in capital cases requires counsel to undertake correspondingly broad investigation and preparation,” Ramsey said in her motion.

“Investigation and planning for both phases must begin immediately upon counsel’s entry into the case, even before the prosecution has affirmatively indicated that it will seek the death penalty,” she wrote.

District Judge Sharon Holmes has appointed Oklahoma City-based attorney Mark Henricksen to serve as Bever’s co-counsel.

Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said Wednesday that a decision on whether to seek capital punishment would occur after a preliminary hearing and after a death-penalty review team evaluates the case.

The brothers are set to appear in court Oct. 9 for a preliminary hearing.

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Information from: Tulsa World, https://www.tulsaworld.com

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