Browning Pleads Guilty

Nicholas W. Browning, the Baltimore County 16-year-old boy accused of killing his family, including his father who was a well respected Towson lawyer with Royston, Mueller, McLean & Reid, has pleaded guilty to four counts of first-degree murder in Baltimore County Circuit Court. Under the plea, Browning will face a maximum of two consecutive life sentences and two concurrent life sentences which will include the possibility of parole. Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge Thomas J. Bollinger Sr. will sentence Browning on December 2nd.

David B. Irwin, a Towson lawyer with Irwin, Green & Dexter, who has been serving as a spokesman for Nicholas Browning’s paternal grandmother, maternal grandfather, and maternal aunt and uncle, said the family understands “the need for punishment in a tragic situation,” but that they “want Nick to be safe and get whatever treatment is available.”

What an awful spot the survivors of that family have been placed in by this tragedy. Judge Bollinger has a tough call to make. What is an appropriate sentence for a boy who needed psychiatric help? What if he defeats the demons in his mind at a young age? Does he stay in prison for the rest of his life for something he did when he was 16? Then again, he coldly killed his entire family and coolly tried to cover it up, going to the mall and playing video games the next day. Should you ever be able to enjoy freedom again after killing your parents and your two younger brothers? It causes me angst just thinking about the competing interests in this case; I can’t imagine having to make the call.