TOPSFIELD — Alfred Brown, one of the first juveniles to be tried as an adult for murder in Massachusetts after he killed his parents and sister in 1978, has been denied parole. 

Brown, now 55, "is not rehabilitated and, thus, does not merit parole at this time," the Parole Board wrote in a decision released this week. 

The board also ordered that Brown cannot again seek parole for five years, the maximum "setback" period. 

Brown was found guilty in 1979 of three counts of first degree murder for the deaths of his parents, Yoshiko, 49, and Wilfred, 45, and his sister, Dorina, 20, on the afternoon and evening of Jan. 27, 1978, at their Topsfield home.

He was sentenced to three life sentences without parole. 

Then, in 2013, after the Supreme Judicial Court concluded that life sentences without parole for those convicted of murder as juveniles were unconstitutional, Brown and dozens of other convicted killers in Massachusetts became eligible for parole hearings. 

During his hearing before the board last April, Brown said "I'm a different person now." 

But even as he told the board he accepts responsibility for his actions, he continued to blame a combination of social isolation, bullying over his Japanese-American heritage and a diet of spy and true crime novels for his decision to kill his family that day and evening. 

He also acknowledged that he was angry at his father's "authoritarian" parenting style and knew that he would be angry to discover that Brown had failed geometry. 

Brown used a .22-caliber rifle he had been given as a Christmas gift a few weeks earlier to shoot his mother in the head. As his sister tried to flee, he shot her twice in the back, twice in the chest and once in the head. 

His father arrived home a little later and Brown confronted him in the garage, shooting him six times, three of those shots to the head. 

Police would find a note on the refrigerator saying "I wish to die," with his name. He then attempted to flee, only to be stopped on a drunken driving charge. 

At the Topsfield police station, Brown stalled as officers tried to get him to call his parents, until he admitted he couldn't because he had shot them. 

Only one sister, who was attending college in Hawaii, survived. She adamantly opposed parole for Brown. 

The two became estranged after, she told the board in a letter, Brown suggested that he'd done both of them a favor by killing their parents. She expressed grave fear of her brother, saying that after decades without contact, he had tried again to contact her, something she believes was motivated only by his interest in seeking parole. 

The Essex County District Attorney's office opposed parole at the hearing. John Doherty, the long-retired prosecutor on the case, said the case was like nothing he'd seen in four years of active duty and decades as a federal prosecutor. 

"Alfred Brown scares me," Doherty told the board last year. "My opinion is if you let him out, he will kill again."

The board also raised concerns both at the hearing and in its decsision. 

While Brown has completed a college degree in prison, he did not begin taking part in rehabilitation programs until 2013. He has also remained compliant with his mental health treatment, the board said. 

"Mr. Brown, however, has accrued approximately 20 disciplinary infractions during his incarceration, some of which are a concern to the board," the decision says. 

Brown acknowledged during the hearing that he made it a point to "fight back" to anyone he perceived as "disrespectful," including another inmate or staff. 

"The board is of the opinion that Alfred Brown has not demonstrated a level of rehabilitative progress that would make release compatible with the welfare of society," the board wrote. "Mr. Brown shot and killed his mother, father and sister in the family home. The board is concerned regarding the level of violence exhibited during the commission of the ... offense. A longer period of positive adjustment and program involvement is needed." 

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis. 

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