Nicholas Waggoner Browning, 15, had a very busy weekend. On Friday evening, Nick got pissed at his dad and decided to do something about it. Friday nigh tNick took his father’s handgun and shot his father, then his mother and two younger brothers. Then he went to hang out with friends overnight and all day Saturday. On Saturday evening about 5:00, Nick went home, “discovered” his father dead, called police and acted upset for awhile. Early Sunday morning, Nick was charged as an adult with four counts of first degree murder in the killings of his father, John Browning, 45; his mother Tamara, 44; and his brothers Gregory, 13, and Benjamin, 11. Nick’s Facebook profile picture shows a smiling young man in a tie, hair blondish brown and wavy. He looks casually overindulged and obviously Nick thought he was pretty smart. Go out, come home to find the whole family slaughtered, inherit, go to prom: sounds like a good plan, right? Except Nick threw his dad’s gun away in the bushes right next to the house.
Nick Browning was described by friends as a class clown who took advanced classes. Just recently, he completed a prayer garden at a local Methodist Church. His uncle Lee Browning says that Nick was “a good kid. There were no issues with him whatsoever.” Ultimately 16-year-old Nicholas was sentenced to four life terms in prison for killing his parents and two brothers. As he faced sentencing in a Towson, Md., courtroom for the February 2008 shooting deaths, Nicholas asked his remaining relatives for forgiveness. Browning, in tears, was unable to read a prepared statement so his lawyer, Joshua R. Treem, read it for him.
I cannot make the pain go away…I never
considered what effect my actions would have. I thought only of myself. He said he used his father’s pistol to kill his family after years of physical abuse and insults by his father. Numbed by what he described as emotional and physical abuse by his parents, Browning was walking home one winter night from a friend’s house when he fantasized about a life without them. Finding a loaded handgun at his house, the 15-year-old “floated” up the stairs and, one by one, pointed the gun at the heads of his mother, father and two younger brothers. Although he does not recall pulling the trigger, he told a forensic psychiatrist that he remembered hearing muffled bangs with each shot. Watch teen weeps, pleads guilty to killing family
Brian Murphy, a criminal defense attorney and former Baltimore City prosecutor had hoped to get the charges reduced. “Maybe they can mitigate it down to second-degree [murder] or manslaughter. Although it sounds, on its surface, as premeditated as you can get. He walks back, gets the gun, loads it, cocks it, shoots one, walks to next room, shoots another and goes on like that. It’s not quite a self-defense argument – because that would be crazy – but maybe it mitigates the premeditation. Kind of like a delayed provocation.” But experts said the evidence of Browning’s mental state and any mistreatment that he suffered at home could play an important role at trial. Although court-appointed mental health experts attributed the killings to an isolated anti-social act by the teenager rather than a mental condition, a diagnosis of dissociative disorder was made.The mental illness is marked by memory loss beyond normal forgetfulness; mental health problems, including depression and anxiety; a sense of detachment; and distorted perceptions. Watch Maryland Teen who Killed Family gets 4 life sentences
“Something was radically wrong,” Blumberg testified. “It is very clear that this was a deeply disturbed young man in a deeply disturbed family in which a gun was available and a tragedy happened.” Browning’s parents routinely berated him – and sometimes slapped or backhanded him – over his grades, his appearance, his treatment of his younger brothers, his religious convictions and his morals. The father once grabbed him by his helmet and threw him against a fence after the boy disrespected a referee at a lacrosse game and, on another occasion, kicked him in the stomach at their house after a dispute with one of his brothers. Watch pastor, students shocked at killings