NATICK, Mass. (WHDH) — A man convicted of shooting and killing three of his family members as a teenager 40 years ago in Topsfield is now up for parole.

Alfred Brown, now 55, was 15 years old in January 1978 when he shot his mother Yoshika with a rifle as she peeled potatoes in the kitchen. He then chased his 20-year-old sister, Dory, into the yard and killed her there. He said he then waited for his father to come home from work and killed him last.

Brown told the parole board the rifle he used to kill his family had been a Christmas gift.

“I think it would have been too personal to kill my family with a knife,” he said. “Truthfully, I think the gun made it easier.”

Brown said he decided to kill his family members because he knew he’d get in trouble for failing math.

Though Brown attacked a guard in prison and has had other angry outbursts, officials said he has had a good record in prison for the past 20 years. The prosecutor who convicted him told the parole board he is concerned Brown will kill again if he is let out.

Brown’s surviving sister, Beth, was 20 years old and living in Hawaii at the time of the murders. Although she has since changed her name and is now living in hiding. a prosecutor read a letter from her at the hearing.

“I don’t feel that 40 years is sufficient punishment for what he did. He was adamant they deserved what they got,” his sister wrote, adding that Brown told her that when he killed their sister and parents he “did (them) a favor.”

Brown is up for parole after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a life sentence without parole is too cruel a sentence for a child with an undeveloped brain.

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