February 4, 2008 in Nation/World

Teen held in family slayings

Kasey Jones Associated Press
 

COCKEYSVILLE, Md. – A 15-year-old boy fatally shot his parents and two younger brothers as they slept, then spent more than 12 hours with friends before returning home and calling 911 to report that his father was dead, police said Sunday.

Police went to their suburban Baltimore home and later charged Nicholas Waggoner Browning after he admitted to the slayings, Baltimore County Police spokesman Bill Toohey said.

Browning was charged as an adult with four counts of first-degree murder in the slayings of his father, John Browning, 45; his mother, Tamara, 44; and his brothers Gregory, 13, and Benjamin, 11.

The teen had not been getting along with his father, police said. On Friday night, he went into the house after other family members had gone to sleep and shot each of them. His father’s handgun had been in the house, police said.

After the slayings, he threw the handgun into bushes near the house, police said. The gun was recovered, Toohey said.

When the friends took him back to his house at 5 p.m. Saturday, Browning went in and came back out to say that his father was dead.

Browning called 911, telling the dispatcher that a “45-year-old male was lying on the couch with blood coming out of his nose. He was not breathing,” according to charging documents.

Officers were sent on a “call of a cardiac arrest.”

Police said Browning’s father was found in a ground-floor room and his mother and brothers were dead in upstairs bedrooms. There was no sign of a confrontation, Toohey said.

The tall, gangly sophomore at Dulaney High School in neighboring Timonium was denied bail; a bail review hearing was scheduled today. He was being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center in a special section for juveniles.

Toohey said he didn’t know if Browning had a lawyer.

Even if convicted as an adult of first-degree murder, Browning is too young under state law to face the death penalty.

Two of Browning’s classmates drove past the family’s house Sunday afternoon and wept when they learned he was charged.

“It’s hard to believe someone could do this,” Brooke Kebaugh, 16, said.

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