True to the tragic underpinnings of true crime, from the outside, John and Tamara Browning had every reason to be proud of their eldest son, Nicholas Browning. Then, in 2008, Nicholas shot and killed his parents before he turned the gun on his two younger brothers, 14-year-old Gregory, and Benjamin, who was 11 when he died.
According to Nicholas’ defense, the Browning family of Maryland concealed dark secrets behind their facade of affluence and success, brought to light by the 15-year-old’s brutal killing spree. However, the prosecution in the case said Nicholas was motivated to murder for money.
In 2009, NBC News reported that Nicholas received four life sentences for his crimes. At his sentencing hearing, Nicholas’ lawyers read a statement from the young man. “I’m so sorry,” the statement read. And then directed to members of the Browning family in attendance, the statement added, “I so badly want to take away your pain.”
Browning’s words of contrition at his 2009 sentencing hearing, however, were contradicted by a phone call he reportedly made to a friend while in custody. In that conversation, Nicholas said, “I hate justice. You need to break in here and break me out.”
Who is Nicholas Browning?
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Reportedly, Nicholas Browning was a former Boy Scout and honor student when he shot and killed his family. He was also a varsity athlete, active in church, and had no prior criminal record. At his trial, the defense said Browning was driven to murder his abusive father. The prosecution, however, said Nicholas killed his entire family for the inheritance. He simply didn’t want to share the money with his two younger brothers.
Shortly after his arrest, Browning was charged as an adult with four counts of first-degree murder, CBS News reported that year. Members of the extended Browning family reportedly affirmed Nicholas’ abuse defense. In a statement, Browning’s maternal grandfather wrote (via NBC News), “I have no doubt that Nick was mentally and physically abused for most of his life and that Tammy chose to become an enabler during the last few years of her life.”
What did Nicholas Browning do?
On the day he killed his family in 2008, Nicholas Browning shot his parents and two brothers while they slept, using his father’s gun. He then discarded the firearm outside the Browning family home and went to play video games at a friend’s house. After Browning returned home the next day, he called the authorities and said he found his family dead. At first, he blamed burglars for the crime, but later admitted he did it.
Eligible for parole after 23 years and good behavior, in 2022 Browning was once more in the headlines when he launched a profile seeking someone to write to him letters in prison. The Daily Star reported that Browning, then 30, had finished a bachelor’s degree, and was working on an MBA. In the profile, Browning said he was just looking for conversation, and was open to talking to anyone.