Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Allentown Massacres

The First Story

David Freeman, headshot
David Freeman, headshot

David reported that he and Bryan were home on February 26 at approximately 3 p.m. They discussed going to a Wendy's restaurant and then to a movie. They called Ben, who came over and picked them up. They stayed at Wendy's on Tilghman Street until around 8 p.m. and then went to the AMC 8 movie theater. David went to Murder in the First, while the other two saw "Boys on the Side." They returned home around 10:30 p.m. Dennis and Erik were asleep, but Brenda had waited up for them. She had imposed a strict curfew of 11:00 p.m., and they chafed at her rules. Rather than face her, they sneaked in through a basement window and went into the family room. Their plan was to call some friends and go out drinking. For that, they needed Ben and his car.

But Brenda heard the ruckus downstairs. She came down and told the boys to go to sleep. They continued to talk, which prompted her to come back down. This time she saw her nephew, Benny, and asked him to leave. He obeyed, but then crawled back in through the window. She heard the boys continue to talk and laugh, so she came down a third time, told Ben to go home again, and again he crawled back in through the window. The boys were in David's room when Brenda came down again. (Some sources indicate that she came down only three times, and it was the third time that led to the trouble.)

Brenda Freeman, victim
Brenda Freeman, victim

Brenda and Bryan began to yell at each other, but David said he had remained in his room and had not actually witnessed much of what happened. His story grew vague, but he clearly implicated his older brother in his mother's murder. Bryan then told the others they had better not "puss out" or they would get stabbed, too. He ordered David and Ben to go upstairs and get Dennis and Erik. David said that he had killed them both and that Ben had gone from room to room, but had not participated in the actual slaughter. He had only taken money from their father's room. They had placed the knives they'd used in the kitchen sink and the bat in the dining room, and then changed clothes before leaving. Investigators listened to David's tale, believing that he was honest and sincere, but they had no way of knowing that his story was full of holes. It would not be long before he'd offer another one, triggered by Birdwell's rendition of the events on that fateful night.


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