October 3, 1971 |
Cascade Township, Minnesota, United States
|Criminal penalty||Life imprisonment|
In the early evening of February 18, 1988, Olmsted County sheriff's deputies discovered the bodies of Bernard (43), Paulette (42), Diane (13), and Richard (11) Brom in the Brom family home. Missing from the home were the two oldest sons, David (16) and Joe (18). The police had been notified by the administration of David's school that students had reported hearing a "rumor" that David had informed another student that he had killed his family that morning. All four individuals had sustained numerous gashes in the head and upper body. Police subsequently found a blood-stained axe in the basement that forensic tests indicated was used to kill all four victims. Immediately after the discovery, the police were concerned that David might be the victim of an abduction. A friend of David Brom's informed the police that David himself had informed her that he had killed his family and testified to the discussion in the subsequent trial. She told jurors at the trial that Brom stopped her on the morning of February 18, 1988, as she was going to school, and convinced her to skip school with him. He then detailed how he killed his parents, brother and sister. "He said he hit his dad with an axe, he kept hitting his dad and his dad kept on getting up." The girl said Brom told her he had gotten into an argument with his father at about 11:30 p.m. the previous night, and that he then stayed up until about 3 a.m. She indicated that Brom detailed the crime, saying that he went to his parents' room, first killing his father. Then he hit his mother and went to his brother's room. Then he saw his sister standing over their mother in the upstairs hallway, at which point he attacked them both.
Brom was captured on February 19, 1988, while using a pay phone near the local post office. His case was initially referred to the juvenile court system because his age at the time of the crimes was 16, but eventually was sent to the adult judicial system based on the severity of the crime. As Brom's defense claim was insanity, mental illness was a factor in the trial, and much media and legal focus was placed on Minnesota's use of the M'Naghten Rules in determining if Brom was legally insane at the time of the crime. On October 16, 1989, Brom was convicted of first-degree murder and was given three consecutive life sentences. He is currently housed at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Stillwater, and is eligible for release in 2041.
In popular culture
- In 1988, Negativland released a fake press release suggesting that their song "Christianity Is Stupid" was implicated in Brom's murders.
- American death metal band Macabre released a song titled "David Brom Took an Axe" on their 1989 album Gloom based on the David Brom murders.
- FindACase | 11/30/90 STATE MINNESOTA v. DAVID FRANCIS BROM
- Friend testifies Brom gave killing details -? PostBulletin.com: Home
- Boy, 16, Charged in Ax Murders Of 4 in His Family in Minnesota - New York Times
- M'Naghten Rule legal definition of M'Naghten Rule. M'Naghten Rule synonyms by the Free Online Law Dictionary
- Brom's aunt critical of sentencing decision - PostBulletin.com: Home