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Thread: David Brom Family Axe Murders

  1. #1
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    David Brom Family Axe Murders

    David Brom (born October 3, 1971) is an American mass murderer. He killed his parents, brother and sister with an axe in February 1988 in Cascade Township, Minnesota near Rochester, Minnesota. More info on the murder from the NYTimes.

    A member of a Catholic family, the 16-year-old Brom had a fight with his father over the music he listened to immediately before the murders. He attended Rochester Lourdes High School at the time.

    He was originally going to be tried in Family Court, and was sent to Texas for a psychiatric evaluation. In the summer of 1989 Brom returned to Olmsted County, Minnesota to be tried as an adult. He was sentenced to life in prison. He will not be eligible for parole until 2041.

    See David's latest mugshot.

    He still creeps me out a little. This awful quadruple axe-murder was all that people talked about for a while, and even after that, I remember it lingering. Not long after that, there was another murder in Rochester, which was rather unusual at the time.

    There was a frenzy of hype and discussion and media coverage about "satan worship" and the occult going on in the communities and local media at the time. There were various places in Rochester, namely some old tunnels near Quarry Hill and a potter's field, where some "satanic" symbols had been seen and "evidence of satan worship and the occult" had been discovered. (Or created in repsonse to the media hype, methinks.) I went into those tunnels with a friend in 1991 and they were pretty much just a place where people partied. (The tunnels were a little eerie, however, and the potter's field near the entrance was sad and bare. I believe that the field is near the former location of the Olmsted County Hospital.)

    Because the eldest son, who was no longer living at home, had an "alternative" appearance and so forth, the conclusion was drawn. It must have been the older brother and his devil worship that made David do it!

    There's not a whole lot out there (online, anyway) about the murders, but I did find this post regarding a controversy related to the murders.

    Also, from Wikipedia: When their 1987 album, Escape From Noise, proved to be more successful than they expected, Negativland, a sound collage band, canceled the tour they were expected to do and released a fake press release stating the band would be placed in house arrest until investigations concluded as to whether the track "Christianity Is Stupid" was implicated in Brom's murders. The resulting media craze, stemming from journalists neglecting to fact-check, is lampooned in the title track of their 1989 album, Helter Stupid, whose insert also includes background information behind the band's prank.

    There is also a song by a band called Macabre, titled "David Brom Took An Axe" and the lyrics are available online.

    Here are a couple of strange connections: I met my best friend (an exchange student at the time) in 1991 and he lived with a very wealthy French-Canadian family (headed by a doctor, natch) living on Pill Hill in Rochester. In the first article I linked to, it sort of mentions that he told a friend he had killed his family. In actuality, the day after the murders, he drove the family minivan over to this family's house, to visit his good friend, stay a few nights there due to "trouble at home" and confide in her, and this girl was one of my friend's host-"sisters." My friend and I didn't actually put it all together until years later. My poor friend's "bedroom" had been the same room that David hid out in. That must have been some tormented sleep. Creepy!

    Also, because of other reasons, my friend changed host families and ended up staying with a family who lived literally a few doors down the street from where the other murder took place. I try not to call him the Murderer Magnet, for obvious reasons.

    On another note: Thanks to all of you for all of your great stories and discussions, and for providing me with a safe space to finally come out of the closet as a lifelong Death Hag!

    I have more stories to come, as I am a full-time volunteer and researcher with the Dodge county Historical Society. Among many many other things, we have a beautiful horse-drawn hearse in the basement, several child-sized coffins, and an interred resident. Her name is Sarah Anna, and she's just behind the limestone wall, under the robing room.
    Last edited by JabezHyde; 05-19-2009 at 10:57 PM. Reason: edited to try and fix links--I'm a noob!

  2. #2
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    (((JabezHyde))) What an awesome first post! Thanks for joining us! We look forward to your future posts! HagHUGS!

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    Very interesting post, thanks!

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    Thanks, djdeath-hag, this means a lot because you're one of my faves on here!

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    Great post. I would like to read more into this case, and learn why some feel the brother was the mastermind in all of it.

    Welcome to our morbid family ;D

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    Awesome story!! Welcome to the fold...

    "I'm dumbfounded by me all the time. Wow! What a. . . thrill. . .and a joy."
    RIP Layne Staley

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    We need more info...

  8. #8
    Awesome post!!! Can hardly wait to read more of your posts!!!

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    I agree that we need more info... Since this happened before the magical interwebs, and there is hardly anything ON the internet, the only way to provide some more info is for me to stop by the ol' paper archive (the Rochester Public Library) and take a look at their wayback machine (the microfilm reader). I'll try to get there next week for some research, if folks are truly interested. I don't really know how much more there is to tell, however, because it was pretty much an open and shut deal. The only slightly shifty thing that happened, in my opinion, was how he was shipped off elsewhere for a period of psychiatric evaluation until he turned 18 and could be tried as an adult.

    Here's an article written on the legal aspects of his situation, parts one and two. Great website all-around (many death hags will spend much time there) but I just realized there is tons of info about the crime scene et. al if you read the comments on the articles. They are the best part. It's interesting to read so many comments from people who are from around the same area who heard the same rumours I did and remember the impact it had on the people in the area.

    Thanks for all the feedback and the warm welcome!

  10. #10
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    That little bit more info help big time!!!

  11. #11
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    neat! Not to disrespect the dead but we never get any "good" i.e. interesting murders in my neck of the woods. I'm sure it would creep me out to know anyone even remotely related to an ax murder.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JabezHyde View Post
    Thanks, djdeath-hag, this means a lot because you're one of my faves on here!

    Oh, that is so sweet! (Your comment to dj, not the murder) Welcome to the board, Jabe! I wonder what the hell happens in these families. That's where I would like to be a fly on the wall. And I wonder why they sent him to Texas for a psychiatric evaluation?

  13. #13
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    Very interesting, I had never heard of this case before.
    No on 8

  14. #14
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    So my favorite substitute teacher was David Brom's old high school principal... It turns out that the day that David killed his family, he showed up at school still covered in blood. I guess he talked to his friends and then drive off in the family van.

  15. #15
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    Many facts...

    Quote Originally Posted by JabezHyde View Post
    I agree that we need more info... Since this happened before the magical interwebs, and there is hardly anything ON the internet, the only way to provide some more info is for me to stop by the ol' paper archive (the Rochester Public Library) and take a look at their wayback machine (the microfilm reader). I'll try to get there next week for some research, if folks are truly interested. I don't really know how much more there is to tell, however, because it was pretty much an open and shut deal. The only slightly shifty thing that happened, in my opinion, was how he was shipped off elsewhere for a period of psychiatric evaluation until he turned 18 and could be tried as an adult.

    Here's an article written on the legal aspects of his situation, parts one and two. Great website all-around (many death hags will spend much time there) but I just realized there is tons of info about the crime scene et. al if you read the comments on the articles. They are the best part. It's interesting to read so many comments from people who are from around the same area who heard the same rumours I did and remember the impact it had on the people in the area.

    Thanks for all the feedback and the warm welcome!

  16. #16
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    Many facts...

    I've never posted before on anything like this so... I apologize if I've done so incorrectly.
    There are many facts about this of which we from the area and the time all know.
    I will read the info below, parts one and two and let you know the validity.
    Quarry Hill... Potters Field... you may have examined the area however possibly after they barred the entrance? I assure you it was only one entrance. You would have to search the back. Did you cross the wooden bridge? Go to the backside... see the wall?
    What time of day did you visit this area? Certainly not night nor alone.
    Did you know of his brother or the record album?

    As mentioned... I will read the parts and re-respond. As mentioned... I hope I'm posting correctly. I guess I'll know once I post this.
    This is a very important case to understand. Very important. Yes, it's before the days of the internet, however my personal knowledge is better than the internet. I was there in that year.

    Quote Originally Posted by JabezHyde View Post
    I agree that we need more info... Since this happened before the magical interwebs, and there is hardly anything ON the internet, the only way to provide some more info is for me to stop by the ol' paper archive (the Rochester Public Library) and take a look at their wayback machine (the microfilm reader). I'll try to get there next week for some research, if folks are truly interested. I don't really know how much more there is to tell, however, because it was pretty much an open and shut deal. The only slightly shifty thing that happened, in my opinion, was how he was shipped off elsewhere for a period of psychiatric evaluation until he turned 18 and could be tried as an adult.

    Here's an article written on the legal aspects of his situation, parts one and two. Great website all-around (many death hags will spend much time there) but I just realized there is tons of info about the crime scene et. al if you read the comments on the articles. They are the best part. It's interesting to read so many comments from people who are from around the same area who heard the same rumours I did and remember the impact it had on the people in the area.

    Thanks for all the feedback and the warm welcome!

  17. #17
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    I have access to digitized microfilm of newspapers from around the country. Here are some articles I found on David Brom (I can't post links -- there aren't any, so I had to copy and paste from pdfs. Sorry):

    1988 Indiana Gazette (AP):

    ‘Regular kid’ accused in ax murders of family

    ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP)" — Friends of a teen-ager accused of hacking four family members to
    death with an ax tried to hand him letters of support during his arraignment as people here struggled for an explanation of the slayings.
    "It would be so much easier for us if we could say the guy was living on the edge, a criminal at heart," Rochester Lourdes High School Principal Michael Leahy said Friday.
    "But no; he's a very regular kid. The allegations are beyond our comprehension."
    David Brom, a 16-year-old Lourdes sophomore, was captured here Friday and charged in the
    Thursday slayings of his parents and younger brother and sister.
    Brom gave himself a punk haircut on the day of the killings, said Olmsted County Sheriff Charles Von Wald.
    Killed were Bernard Brom, 41, an engineer at IBM's Rochester plant; Paulette: Brom, 41; Diane, 14; and Rick, 9, Von Wald said.
    The four were found in their nightclothes in the family's home in a Rochester suburb, all apparently struck at least once with an ax, the sheriff said. A bloody, 28-inch ax was found in the basement, the sheriff said.
    During Brom's arraignment Friday, about a dozen friends tried to hand him letters of support, but
    were stopped by security guards. Friends and acquaintances wrote several dozen letters to be delivered to him in the Olmsted County jail in Rochester, a city of about 60,000 some 90 miles southeast of Minneapolis.
    "We want him to know we support him and care about him," said one classmate, who would not give her name.
    "Anybody who judges Dave without knowing him is out of their mind," said student Chris Bro'melkamp.
    "He may have done something bad, but there's a lot of people he touched. In the morning, I would come in in a bad mood, and there's Dave with a big smile and a joke."
    Some students told reporters that Brom had recently argued with his father over a punk rock music tape the son brought home, and said the teen-ager liked punk groups such as Suicidal Tendencies.
    Von Wald said Brom dyed and cut his hair in a spiked, punk fashion Thursday, and that he had bought a wig and makeup in what the sheriff speculated may have been an attempt to disguise himself.
    "He listened to some pretty far-out music, but he wasn't a Satanist and wasn't a transvestite" or a
    drug-user, Bromelkamp said.
    Brom appeared calm Friday during his 15-minute arraignment on four counts of first-degree murder and eight counts of second-degree murder. The charges allege different degrees of premeditation or intent.
    According to the complaint, one unidentified person indicated that Brom on Wednesday said he was going to kill his parents that night, and another person indicated that Brom told her over the phone the next day that he had killed his parents.
    District Judge Gerard Ring ordered Brom examined by court-appointed psychiatrists, said County Attorney Raymond Schmitz. He was being held under a 24-hour watch at the county jail pending a detention hearing next week, Schmitz said.
    Assistant county public defender Terry Walters, representing Brom, said he will fight any efforts to have the youth tried as an adult.
    The administration of the 415-student Roman Catholic school set up a series of therapy sessions and a special Mass on Friday. Dozens of students spent much of the day hugging,
    crying and-talking to friends and counselors.
    A funeral is planned Sunday at Pax Christi Catholic Church, where the elder Broms were known as leaders and devout Christians.


    1989 AP articles:

    Judge says he has no choice
    ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) — A judge said he does not agree with trying a 16-year-old as a juvenile for the ax slayings of his parents and two siblings but insisted the law gives him no choice.
    District Judge Gerard Ring said Friday he hopes the case will prompt the Legislature to review
    the la w on juvenile crime.
    "Under the present law, I can give the same disposition to a juvenile for stealing a Baby Ruth
    candy bar as for murdering baby Ruth," he said. "I have never agreed with that."
    Ring denied a motion to have David Brom tried as an adult on charges of murdering his parents,
    Bernard and Paulette Brom, his brother Ricky, 11, and sister, Diane, 14, at the family's home
    Feb. 18.
    If Brom is convicted as a juvenile, he will be released at age 19 or when he has been deemed rehabilitated, whichever comes first. If triedas an adult and convicted, he would face a life sentence with parole eligibility after about 17'/2 years.
    To try a juvenile as an adult, state law requires the prosecutor to show that the child is not suited
    to rehabilitative treatment and is a danger to the community.
    Ring wrote in a ruling released Friday that neither standard applied to Brom, who was described
    by a court-appointed psychiatrist as "deferential, polite, and compliant,' ' and had no prior record.
    "I don't agree at all with the outcome," the judge said. At the same time, he said, "I know the decision was the correct one legally."
    Olmsted County Attorney Ray Schmitz said he will appeal.
    Sheriff Charles Von Wald and Police Chief Pat Farrell complained that the ruling focused too
    much on rehabilitation and not punishment.


    Teen is found guilty of slaying parents, siblings
    ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) – A jury rejected an insanity defense Sunday in the second phase of the trial of an 18-year-old already convicted of first-degree murder in the
    ax slayings of his parents and two siblings.
    David Brom, a 16-year-old high school sophomore at the time of the deaths, knew what he was doing and knew it was wrong, the jury ruled in completing Minnesota's two-part trial system for insanity pleas.
    "Obviously we're very pleased with the verdict. We had anticipated that the law was in favor of this verdict," said prosecutor Ray Schmitz. the Olmsted County attorney.
    He said he would urge the judge to give Brom the maximum sentence of 70 years in prison on each count.
    Brom, surrounded by sheriff's deputies, showed no emotion when the verdict was announced. One female juror appeared to be trying to keep from crying.
    Sentencing was set for Monday.
    If Judge Ancy Morse sentences Brom to consecutive sentences on the convictions, Brom will have no possibility of parole until the year 2059.
    However, if the judge orders sentences on the four murder counts to run concurrently, Brom would be eligible for parole in 17 years.
    Defense attorney Terrence Walters said he was not surprised by the verdict, but said that after 21 hours of deliberation over three days, "I felt I had a fighting chance."
    An appeal is automatic in first degree murder convictions.
    Brom was described as a gentle boy who wrote poetry but also liked hard-core rock music with violent overtones.
    He had pleaded innocent by reason of mental illness in the February 1988 deaths at the family's rural Rochester home.
    The first phase of the trial, which began Sept. 18, ended Oct. 3 - Brom's 18th birthday — with
    jurors finding Brom guilty of four counts of first-degree murder
    Last edited by AliWProk; 09-18-2012 at 10:53 AM. Reason: explanation

  18. #18
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    He hit them a total of 56 times with the axe? OMFG

    http://www.startribune.com/templates/Print_This_Story?sid=112733674


    Now I'm super interested in this, because there seems to have been a lot of backstory.
    Last edited by Nessa; 09-26-2012 at 01:55 AM.

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    This case has fascinated me for years and now that I spend a few days per month down at the Mayo Clinic, aka "Pill Hill", I've become practically obsessed with it. There appears to be a great deal of back story rooted in overzealous religious beliefs and a history of family mental health issues that may have sent this guy over the edge. Very tragic. This guy is now older than his parents when he killed them. Imagine having spent part of your childhood and your entire adult life behind bars. Attached are a few articles pulled from the St. Paul Pioneer Press from 1988.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  20. #20
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    Just saw this...the last of the immediate family, the elusive older brother of David....http://www.heraldstaronline.com/page....html?nav=5011

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by MNMorbid View Post
    Just saw this...the last of the immediate family, the elusive older brother of David....http://www.heraldstaronline.com/page....html?nav=5011

    Here's the complete obituary, with a photo (not a bad-looking chap, and sadly, fairly young), that one doesn't need to pay to see. I'm surprised someone bothered to mention the killer-brother as a survivor. Perhaps the late Joseph did visit and/or wrote to David occasionally (who else did either have left?)

    http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/pos...?pid=177241763

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