Here's What Happened the Night My 16-Year-Old Brother Murdered My Entire Family

February 27, 2017
By: Catherine Townsend

Photo by: Sherry Shafer [Investigation Discovery]

Sherry Shafer [Investigation Discovery]

Sherry Shafer always knew that there was something wrong with her brother Brian, 16, but she never expected the horror that unfolded in the early morning hours of March 22, 1989.

Brian Britton, who had a fascination with the military and the movie Rambo, methodically crept through the family’s Poughkeepsie, New York, home with a 20-gauge shotgun and shot his father, Dennis Britton; mother, Marlene; and eight-year-old brother Jason to death.

Photo by: Actors in recreation of Brian and Sherry as children [Investigation Discovery]

Actors in recreation of Brian and Sherry as children [Investigation Discovery]

He also mortally wounded Sherry. But she survived, and 28 years later she continues to fight to make sure her brother remains behind bars.

Sherry has created a petition on Change.org to send to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo asking that Brian never be released.

The New York State Parole Board has denied Brian’s parole three times, but he can reapply for parole in November 2017.

Following an investigation and trial, Britton was sentenced to 25 years to life and is now serving his sentence at Washington Correctional Facility.

Sherry, who relives the night of horror in an episode of the Investigation Discovery show Evil Lives Here titled “The Horror I Don’t Remember,” says she lives in fear that her brother will come back to finish what he’s started.

During the show, she reads aloud a letter that her brother wrote to her. “He doesn’t admit to anything. No remorse; No ‘I’m sorry that I did this,’” she said, then, addressing her brother: “You’ve never shed a tear. You can’t even admit what you did. And you want freedom?”

Photo by: Brian had a fascination with the movie “Rambo” and weapons [Investigation Discovery]

Brian had a fascination with the movie “Rambo” and weapons [Investigation Discovery]

Sherry said that over the years, her brother went from being a sweet young boy to an angry teenager who seemed not to care when he stole from or hurt people, including her.

She revealed that Brian been arguing with his family in the period leading up to the murder over his poor attendance at Arlington High School in La Grange, and over the fact that he spent so much time with his girlfriend.

Looking back, there’s all kind of signs,” she said. But she added that when she was younger, her brother’s behavior could be written off as that of a normal rebellious teenager.

The murders shocked neighbors in Poughkeepsie, who thought of their community as a safe rural haven.

In Brian’s bedroom, police later reportedly found dozens of Rambo posters and magazines, army packs, smoke grenades, and ammunition pouches.

Photo by: Sherry outside her family home [Investigation Discovery]

Sherry outside her family home [Investigation Discovery]

During the show, Sherry reveals that she does not remember events between the time when she went to bed on March 21 and waking up in the hospital.

She is shocked when retired detective Charles Mittelstaedt shows her crime-scene photos of her blood-soaked bed, where she apparently wandered to after her brother shot her point-blank in the bathroom.

Sherry said that she is not sure she can face the memories but goes through the photo and videos because “I want everyone in the world to know what a monster he is.”

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