A relative of Michael Neugebauer says she feels a judge should grant him a sentence reduction and describes him as remorseful for his crime.

Neugebauer killed his parents, brother and sister in 1992. He pleaded guilty to his father’s murder and entered Alford pleas at a later date for the murders of his mother, sister and brother. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Neugebauer says he suffered physical abuse from his father and sexual abuse from his sister, assertions that the Burleigh County State’s Attorney’s Office does not refute. 

In a brief filed with the court opposing Neugebauer’s request for a sentence reduction, the Burleigh County State’s Attorney wrote, “The State does not dispute Neugebauer was a victim of abuse as a child at the hands of his father and sister. While the State recognizes such abuse can and does have an effect on the mental well-being of children, Neugebauer’s reaction to that abuse was disproportional to a disturbing degree.”

The brief continued, “Therefore, while the fact of Neugebauer’s history of abuse would weigh in favor of a sentence reduction, that weight is negated in this matter by the gross disproportionality of Neugebauer’s actions in response to that abuse.”

In a 2019 statement to the court, Neugebauer wrote, “I don’t make my abuse an excuse for what happened, but it is the reason why this happened.” He continued, “I was a child trying to get out of a terrible situation, I didn’t know the right way to get there, I just wanted out.”

KX News visited Helene Hollingsworth, Neugebauer’s aunt by marriage, outside her home in Menoken. Her former husband, Neugebauer’s uncle, passed away in 2015. 

In a conversation with KX News, Hollingsworth described Neugebauer as having a good heart and said she did feel a judge should grant him a sentence reduction, though she acknowledged that not all of Neugebauer’s relatives may feel the same way. 

Hollingsworth says she has kept in communication with Neugebauer over his decades-long incarceration and speaks with him by phone on a weekly basis. She described him as smart and hard-working and says she has forgiven him for the crimes he committed.

“You can forgive the person without forgiving the sin,” Hollingsworth said. 

While she does believe Neugebauer should be granted a sentence reduction, Hollingsworth said she also has concerns about him adjusting to life outside prison. Acknowledging that his entire adult life has been spent behind bars, Hollingsworth believes Neugebauer would likely face challenges upon release and hopes there will be resources available for him on the outside, such as job assistance, should the judge grant a sentence reduction.

Neugebauer’s attorney also submitted a brief to the court, saying Neugebauer has served sufficient incarceration to both punish and rehabilitate him. The brief requests Neugebauer’s sentence be reduced to time served, with a period of supervised release for at least five years. 

The judge has not yet issued a decision regarding Neugebauer’s request for a reduced sentence.