Saturday marks 35 years since Brom family murders

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(ABC 6 News) — Saturday, February 18, will mark a dark anniversary in the city of Rochester. 

David Brom, now 51 years old, brutally murdered his dad, mom, brother, and sister with an axe in their home on the outskirts of Rochester 35 years ago.

All four individuals had sustained numerous gashes in the head and upper body. Police subsequently found a blood-stained axe in the basement that forensic tests indicated was used to kill all four victims.

Brom was arrested on February 19, 1988, while using a pay phone near the local post office. On October 16, 1989, Brom was convicted of first-degree murder and was given three consecutive life sentences with 52 years and 6 months before parole.

In 2018, ABC 6 News interviewed Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson, as was a deputy at the time and first on the scene. 

“All I knew was that there was something wrong, and all I remember of the call was that David had made some kind of threat to his dad,” Torgerson said.

Bernard and Paulette Brom had what looked like the American dream, a nice home on the northwest side of Rochester, four children: Joe, 19, David, 16, Diane, 13, and Ricky, 9. They were actively involved in their church, and from the outside, the Broms looked to be a typical middle-class family.  However, David had a dark side, just how dark, not even his family knew.

At the time, Torgerson had only been in law enforcement for four years, only two in the city of Rochester, when he was dispatched on a call to do a welfare check at the Brom home.

“I knew which house it was, but that I was just going to wait for my backup. We were losing daylight at the time, 5:23 p.m. – I think about that time – 6:00 it’s getting pretty dark, so I got out, and I waited he got out his car and I said well here is what I got, told him the stuff I already knew. announced ourselves ‘sheriff’s office’ and of course, nobody answered,” Torgerson said. “At this point with no one responding, that was the point where really it just … now we got  a bad deal here.”

Torgerson goes on to explain going heading to the bedrooms upstairs.

“And when I got to the top of the step, and where I could see up on the floor, then that’s when I saw what turned out to be both females, their feet laying there,” Torgerson said.  “And I whispered then to my partner, ‘we’ve got two bodies up here,’ two females, did a quick peek and I remember looking left, it was quite a sight.”

You can hear in his voice, the trained law enforcement officer’s description of just the facts until he gets to the last bedroom.

“So I walked in further and then I got in just to the corner of that little entry of what was Ricky’s room, and he was laying in bed in a fetal position, and again, massive injury to his head, multiple other injuries across his body, and he’s laying there clutching a little blanket.”

Joe Brom, the oldest of the children was 19 years old at the time and did not live at home.  He ended up moving to New York and became a philosophy teacher.  He died seven years ago from cancer.

As for David, he remains in the St. Cloud Correctional Facility serving time until he is approximately 70 years old when he will be eligible for parole in 2041.