Bryan and David Freeman Teen Killers Murders Family In Pennsylvania

Bryan and David Freeman photos

Bryan and David Freeman would murder their entire family while they were still teenagers. According to court documents Bryan and David Freeman were self proclaimed neo Nazi’s and decided their parents Jehovah Witness beliefs were not to their liking. With their cousin Nelson Birdwell would murder their parents and their younger brother. The teen killers were convicted of double murder, they were not charged with the murder of their younger brother, and were sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Bryan and David Freeman 2019 Information

Bryan Freeman

Parole Number:CX3426
Age: 41
Date of Birth: 01/07/1978
Race: WHITE
Height: 6′ 00″
Gender: MALE
Citizenship: USA
Complexion: LIGHT
Current Location: COAL TOWNSHIP
Permanent Location: COAL TOWNSHIP
Committing County: LEHIGH
Last Updated Time: 12/8/2019 4:00:18 AM

David Freeman

Parole Number:594HX
Age: 40
Date of Birth: 02/09/1979
Race: WHITE
Height: 6′ 03″
Gender: MALE
Citizenship: USA
Complexion: LIGHT
Current Location: MAHANOY
Permanent Location: MAHANOY
Committing County: LEHIGH
Last Updated Time: 12/8/2019 4:00:18 AM

Bryan And David Freeman Other News

Twenty years after stabbing and bludgeoning to death their mother, father and younger brother in one of the Lehigh Valley’s most shocking crimes, former neo-Nazi skinhead brothers Bryan and David Freeman tell an aunt they wish they could change the past.

The brothers, who along with their cousin Nelson “Ben” Birdwell III will spend the rest of their lives in prison for the slayings, were troubled teenagers who found an outlet for their rebellion in the white supremacist skinhead movement.

Their rejection of their parents’ authority came to a horrific climax Feb. 26, 1995, as Bryan Freeman, then 17, grabbed his mother, Brenda, as she came down the stairs of the family’s Salisbury Township home, stuffed a pair of shorts in her mouth and stabbed her repeatedly.

David Freeman, then 16, and Birdwell, who was 18, went upstairs, where they beat Dennis Freeman with an aluminum baseball bat and metal exercise bar as he lay asleep in bed.

Prosecutors said Birdwell also attacked 11-year-old Erik Freeman, who was also asleep, hitting him repeatedly with a 3-foot pick ax handle.

Armed with a shotgun, the three fled in Brenda Freeman’s convertible to Michigan, where they were arrested three days later.

David and Bryan Freeman pleaded guilty to murdering their parents. And although a jury acquitted Birdwell of Erik Freeman’s murder, he was convicted for his role in killing Dennis Freeman, whose blood had spattered Birdwell’s T-shirt.

“The boys are not what they were back then,” said Sandy Lettich, who is Brenda Freeman’s sister. “They both regret what they did and wish they had never done it.”

Bryan Freeman, who is serving his sentence at the state prison in Coal Township, Northumberland County, has embraced his parents’ religion, becoming baptized as a Jehovah’s Witness, Lettich said.

David Freeman, who is at Mahanoy State Prison near Frackville, has softened from the cold-eyed and mean young man he had become in the months before the killings, she said.

“If you bring up what happened, they cry,” said Lettich, who visits the brothers frequently.

The Freeman murders came during one of the bloodiest years in Lehigh Valley history, with 14 homicides in the first five months.

A day after the Freeman brothers were captured, 17-year-old Jeffrey Howorth used his father’s hunting rifle to gun down his parents, George and Susan Howorth, ambushing them as they returned separately to the family’s Lower Macungie Township home.

“Those kids in Salisbury, they were cool. They killed their parents,” Howorth wrote in an apparent reference to Bryan and David Freeman that investigators found in his bedroom desk.

“I would be rough [cool] if I did that,” the note continued.

Howorth was arrested March 4, two days after the shootings, when the car he was driving ran out of gas in Missouri. In his trial, experts theorized that Howorth drew inspiration from the Freeman killings. He was acquitted of the murders later that year by a jury that found him not guilty by reason of insanity. He was involuntarily committed and remains under state supervision at Wernersville State Hospital in Berks County.

Howorth’s brother, Stephen Howorth, declined to be interviewed, saying in an email that his parents’ murders continue to cause his family pain.

Memories of the murders have faded in the Freemans’ old neighborhood, said 20-year-old Jacob Ross, who has lived most of his life in the Freeman family’s former home in the 1600 block of Ehrets Lane.

Ross said neighbors used to talk about the killings often, but that changed as time wore on and many longtime residents moved away.

“The neighborhood somehow moved past it, and it was always a wonderful place to live,” he said.

In 1995, the Freeman and Howorth killings came as a one-two punch that rattled parents and educators and exposed the harsh reality that Lehigh Valley youth were not immune to indoctrination by hate groups.

The Freeman brothers and their cousin had reportedly attended gatherings at the Longswamp Township home of Mark Thomas, a proponent of white supremacist ideology who later went to federal prison for his role in a nationwide bank robbery ring run by the Aryan Republican Army.

Although they were not known to be part of an organized skinhead group, Bryan and David Freeman looked the part. In the months before the murders, they began sporting shaved heads and military surplus clothes.

Then the Freeman boys turned up at school with neo-Nazi tattoos on their bare foreheads. David’s read “Sieg Heil,” a Nazi salute, while Bryan’s read “Berserker,” to match one on Birdwell’s forehead.

The neo-Nazi affiliations brought an especially sinister element to the murders.

“We got a number of phone calls from the schools, asking what’s going on,” said Robert Werts, then commander of Pennsylvania State Police Troop M in Bethlehem, which investigated the killings.

Barry Morrison, who retired in 2013 as regional director of the Anti-Defamation League in Philadelphia, said he was besieged with calls from reporters asking how to predict and prevent such crimes.

In response, Morrison organized a conference for educators and professionals from other backgrounds to discuss strategies for preventing youth hate crimes. Local police and anti-gang organizations also held workshops on dealing with hate groups.

What made the Freeman killings especially tragic, Morrison said, was that Brenda Freeman had tried to get help for her husband and herself in managing their sons.

Bryan Freeman had been hospitalized twice for mental illness and his brother David was treated for substance abuse and had been held in several juvenile facilities, according to published reports.

As the boys bridled against authority, leveled death threats against their parents and sank deeper into neo-Nazi beliefs, Brenda Freeman called the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission for help. They referred her to Morrison, who said in an interview last week that at first he saw a conversation with Brenda Freeman as an opportunity to gather up-to-date intelligence on white supremacist activities in the area.

But upon speaking with her, he sensed she needed help that he wasn’t equipped to provide and put her in touch with the Allentown Police Department’s community relations officer.

Morrison said he later tried to call Brenda Freeman to follow up, but the phone rang unanswered. Morrison learned of the murders a short time later, he said.

“It was clear to me that just by coincidence she had been killed shortly before I tried to reach her,” Morrison said. “This was a very sobering experience for me. It left me feeling very unsettled.”

Morrison said he has used aspects of the Freeman case in his work educating others about hate groups. He said he still wonders whether the killings could have been stopped if a teacher had recognized a clear red flag from one of the brothers.

Instead of answering the questions on a test in school, one of the brothers scrawled racist and anti-Semitic epithets, an account of attacking his father and a screed describing his support for the neo-Nazi cause. The teacher returned the paper with a note saying he should rethink his ideas.

Today, in the wake of numerous school shooting tragedies, such writings would set off alarms, Morrison said.

“I doubt that a student would submit this kind of garbage … without serious action being taken by the school,” he said.

Werts, who is now director of the Northeast Pennsylvania Counter Terrorism Task Force in Stroudsburg, said that even two decades later, the Freeman case illustrates the importance of parents being involved in their children’s lives, which by many accounts, the Freemans were.

Dennis and Brenda Freeman were described at the time of the killings as decent, normal people who were troubled by the change in their sons but didn’t know where to turn for help. As Jehovah’s Witnesses, they had high expectations of their children, said Lettich, who was close to her sister and spent a lot of time in her home. The boys, however, were difficult to discipline, she said.

“They just didn’t want to have rules. They just wanted to do whatever they wanted to do,” Lettich said. “When you have 16-year-olds who look like men and have the strength of men, it’s kind of hard to control them.”

Werts said there’s little law enforcement can do to intervene in a situation like the one Brenda and Dennis Freeman faced because no laws had been broken. But, he added, there are social service organizations that can help.

The Freeman brothers and their cousin had reportedly attended gatherings at the Longswamp Township home of Mark Thomas, a proponent of white supremacist ideology who later went to federal prison for his role in a nationwide bank robbery ring run by the Aryan Republican Army.

Although they were not known to be part of an organized skinhead group, Bryan and David Freeman looked the part. In the months before the murders, they began sporting shaved heads and military surplus clothes.

Then the Freeman boys turned up at school with neo-Nazi tattoos on their bare foreheads. David’s read “Sieg Heil,” a Nazi salute, while Bryan’s read “Berserker,” to match one on Birdwell’s forehead.

The neo-Nazi affiliations brought an especially sinister element to the murders.

“We got a number of phone calls from the schools, asking what’s going on,” said Robert Werts, then commander of Pennsylvania State Police Troop M in Bethlehem, which investigated the killings.

Barry Morrison, who retired in 2013 as regional director of the Anti-Defamation League in Philadelphia, said he was besieged with calls from reporters asking how to predict and prevent such crimes.

In response, Morrison organized a conference for educators and professionals from other backgrounds to discuss strategies for preventing youth hate crimes. Local police and anti-gang organizations also held workshops on dealing with hate groups.

What made the Freeman killings especially tragic, Morrison said, was that Brenda Freeman had tried to get help for her husband and herself in managing their sons.

Bryan Freeman had been hospitalized twice for mental illness and his brother David was treated for substance abuse and had been held in several juvenile facilities, according to published reports.

As the boys bridled against authority, leveled death threats against their parents and sank deeper into neo-Nazi beliefs, Brenda Freeman called the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission for help. They referred her to Morrison, who said in an interview last week that at first he saw a conversation with Brenda Freeman as an opportunity to gather up-to-date intelligence on white supremacist activities in the area.

But upon speaking with her, he sensed she needed help that he wasn’t equipped to provide and put her in touch with the Allentown Police Department’s community relations officer.

Morrison said he later tried to call Brenda Freeman to follow up, but the phone rang unanswered. Morrison learned of the murders a short time later, he said.

“It was clear to me that just by coincidence she had been killed shortly before I tried to reach her,” Morrison said. “This was a very sobering experience for me. It left me feeling very unsettled.”

Morrison said he has used aspects of the Freeman case in his work educating others about hate groups. He said he still wonders whether the killings could have been stopped if a teacher had recognized a clear red flag from one of the brothers.

Instead of answering the questions on a test in school, one of the brothers scrawled racist and anti-Semitic epithets, an account of attacking his father and a screed describing his support for the neo-Nazi cause. The teacher returned the paper with a note saying he should rethink his ideas.

Today, in the wake of numerous school shooting tragedies, such writings would set off alarms, Morrison said.

“I doubt that a student would submit this kind of garbage … without serious action being taken by the school,” he said.

Werts, who is now director of the Northeast Pennsylvania Counter Terrorism Task Force in Stroudsburg, said that even two decades later, the Freeman case illustrates the importance of parents being involved in their children’s lives, which by many accounts, the Freemans were.

Dennis and Brenda Freeman were described at the time of the killings as decent, normal people who were troubled by the change in their sons but didn’t know where to turn for help. As Jehovah’s Witnesses, they had high expectations of their children, said Lettich, who was close to her sister and spent a lot of time in her home. The boys, however, were difficult to discipline, she said.

“They just didn’t want to have rules. They just wanted to do whatever they wanted to do,” Lettich said. “When you have 16-year-olds who look like men and have the strength of men, it’s kind of hard to control them.”

Werts said there’s little law enforcement can do to intervene in a situation like the one Brenda and Dennis Freeman faced because no laws had been broken. But, he added, there are social service organizations that can help.

“Any parent who has a child who has a swastika tattooed on his neck and ‘Sieg Heil’ on his forehead, you’d best be looking for help at that point. And in the Freemans’ case, they did.” Werts said. “It just didn’t work.”

“Any parent who has a child who has a swastika tattooed on his neck and ‘Sieg Heil’ on his forehead, you’d best be looking for help at that point. And in the Freemans’ case, they did.” Werts said. “It just didn’t work.”

Bryan And David Freeman Photos

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Bryan Freeman 2019 Mugshot
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David Freeman 2019 Mugshot

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Freeman Brothers Remorseful 20 Years After Murders

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