Alfred Brown was 15 when he murdered his parents and sister in their Topsfield home. Forty years later, after a change in Massachusetts policy on juvenile sentencing, he is up for parole.
When Brown was convicted in 1978, he received a life sentence without the possibility of parole. However, due to a decision from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court prohibiting lifetime sentences for juvenile offenders, he was granted a hearing. The parole board heard testimony from both sides Thursday.
"I murdered three members of my own family for essentially senseless reasons," Brown said at the hearing.
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Now 55, Brown described every detail of how he shot and killed his mother, then his sister and finally his father, all because of a failing grade in school.
"I raised the rifle and he saw the rifle and he said 'no' to me," Brown recalled of his father. "I shot at him at least twice."
Brown told the parole board on Thursday his actions cannot be justified. But he said he has battled mental issues all his life.
Now 55, Brown admitted to having been involved in several violent incidents in prison. But in 2000, he said he sought help, and that the intensive counseling he received helped him turn his life around.
His surviving sister, however, submitted a letter opposing his release. It was read aloud by attorneys Thursday.
"He had no remorse after the fact and felt they deserved it," the letter read. "Do you want to be responsible for letting someone like that out into society?"
The former prosecutor who put Brown behind bars also argued that it would be a mistake to release him.