Neo-Nazi brothers accused of killing parents

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The Independent Online
The parents knew their two sons had gone bad long before they appeared for dinner two weeks ago with Nazi slogans tattooed on their foreheads. They had gone to experts for help, but last weekend, things went further than anybody feared.

The bodies of Dennis and Brenda Freeman were found in their home on the outskirts of Allentown, Pennsylvania, on Monday. The couple, Jehovah's Witnesses, had been stabbed and bludgeoned. Their third son, Erik, 11, was also dead.

Coroners in Allentown described the killings as the most "savage, brutal and cowardly" they had seen. The case is being seen as a tragic instance of parental religious fervour triggering violent revolt.

Bryan 17, and David, 16, fled but have been tracked to a small town north of Detroit and charged with the murders. They are now fighting extradition from Michigan, which does not have the death penalty, to Pennsylvania, which does. Both over six feet tall and weighing more than 14 stones, the teenagers, presented a fearsome image in court yesterday.Their heads are shaven. Bryan's forehead is inscribed "Berserker", while David's is tattooed with "Sieg Heil". A cousin of similar appearance, Nelson Birdwell, 18, is also in custody.

Friends say the sons became neo-Nazis in their early teens, later shaving their heads and wearing military clothing. "They were real nice boys until about four years ago," said Mr Birdwell's grandfather.

In a grizzly coincidence, police announced a manhunt for another teenager from Allentown whose parents were found shot dead in their home, a few miles from the Freeman home. Jeffrey Howorth, 16, a suspect in the killings of George and Susan Howorth, is not believed to be a neo-Nazi and is a member of the school swimming team.