Sammy White’s Brighton Bowl Murders

I was watching Eli Roth’s Cabin Fever tonight and was reminded of my favorite scene in the movie, which has connections to the town I grew up in in Boston.

The 2002 horror film follows four friends who are terrorized by an unexplained flesh-eating bacteria while staying in a cabin in the woods. While sitting around the campfire, Paul (Rider Strong) tells his friends the story of “Brighton Bowl” in Brighton.

Paul describes the tale of a disgruntled former employee who seeks revenge on the workers of the bowling hangout. The crazed employee ties the individuals up and hacks off their limbs with an axe, then proceeds to bowl their limbs down the lanes. The story ends on a funny note with Paul describing the always happy bald employee who’s head came back in the ball return: “He was still smiling.”

When I originally saw the film, I thought that this part of the movie was really cool because I grew up in Brighton. So, I obviously asked my parents if the story was true and they confirmed that it was, only, it wasn’t exactly as told in the movie.

The bowling alley which is described was Sammy White’s Brighton Bowl, named after the famous Red Sox pitcher, Sammy White. Sammy White’s was located on Soldier’s Field Road in Brighton, Massachusetts, right around the corner from where I grew up. The bowling alley was a popular hangout during the 70’s and ’80s until the brutal events that took place there on September 22, 1980.

On that fatal day, former employee, Bryan A. Dyer, surprised four employees at Sammy White’s  by tying them up and proceeding to bludgeon them with a bowling pin. Along with the bludgeoning, Dyer shot each of the employees execution style and left them for dead. Before leaving the establishment, Dyer robbed the safe of $4,800.

All four of the employees died; three on the scene and one on the way to the hospital. Their bodies weren’t found until the next day when an employee came in to open up . Soon, Dyer, a cab driver at the time, was brought in, tried, and convicted of the murders. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Due to the controversy, Sammy White’s never recovered and closed for good in 1985. It was no surprise that Roth knew of this story, considering that he grew up in Netwon, MA, which isn’t very far from Brighton.

The real story and the story featured in the movie are pretty similar, except that Dyer did not hack off their limbs and bowl them down the lanes. The story is actually pretty sad and infuriating to think that the four people died for a mere $4,800. I mean, c’mon! Those poor bastards probably never saw it coming and Dyer was such a loser that he had to kill for cash? If Dyer is still alive, I hope he is still getting raped in prison.



  1. Anonymous

    I checked him out threw vine link in 2011 he was at baystate correctional center in norfolk. he don't come up anymore he must have died . he killed more than the 4 people at the bowling alley . i ran into this guy a few times bad man , should have been put to death long time ago .

  2. Anonymous

    I have only one quibble with your story. Sammy White was not a pitcher for the Red Sox. He was a catcher–and a very good one. He was the starting catcher for the Red Sox from 1952 through 1959. For my money, the only two Red Sox catchers any better than White were Carlton Fisk and Jason Varitek.

  3. Anonymous

    Two of the victims, Brian and David Cobe, were good friends of mine – both in their early 20's when this happened. David's wife was pregnant. It was devastating to lose these wonderful young men, as well as the tragedy of losing the two I did not know. I've never forgotten any of them.

  4. Anonymous

    This animal died in prison on 5/21/11 the familes of his victims were notifed via telephone and mail. he had been released from prison after serving 20yrs for another heinous murder of multiple people in Boston. He was "only" a co-conspirator in those, thus paroled only for a few weeks before he committed his next murderous crimes.

    Brian has just turned 21 and David was 19. David was married for just a few months and his wife (only a year younger than he),was pregnant. George and Don were the other two victims Don was about 45 and he was the person this creep actually knew from years prior. George had the misfortune of being in the location doing his Pepsi delivery route that morning. I never knew George but his family was lovely and we forever share a bond.

    The murder was discovered on the same day it occurred. The police believed about 45minutes had elapsed from the time of the crime and the time the next employee came to work and discovered the scene.

    The case was cracked when a student, who had been out of town for a few weeks, returned back to Boston and realized he had almost crashed into a "madman" racing out of the Sammy White's parking lot that very morning. He was an angel sent from God, when he came forward and not only identified the car and some of the license plate, but was able to pick the POS out of a lineup. He testifed in court and the Massachusetts prison system was able to lock this nut up and throw away the key (finally!).

    The sickening thing about the story is this asswipe denied he did it and tried for many years for an appeal. He actually had a TV interview with Dan Rea of WBZ here in Boston about 10yrs ago on a spotlight news flash and removed his prison tshirt on camera to reveal four full size bowling pins he had tatooed on his chest in the can, one with each of these guys names on it. Thank God Dan had the sense to notify the familes that it was coming.

    thanks for posting this and i hope it clears up any questions your readers may have had…

  5. Amanda

    Wow, thanks for posting that. I wanted to know a little more about the case but the only things I can find are the wiki page on it. I would love to watch his news interview, just to see how crazy he really is. He's a weirdo for getting the tattoos of the bowling pins.It's really a sad story, especially knowing a little more about the victims…

  6. Anonymous

    Brian and Dave were friends, may they rest in PEACE. I have never stopped thinking or praying for them.

  7. Anonymous

    Just so you know most of this story is wrong. My family was one of the families affect by this horrible event and I DO NOT appreciate you talking about it in this way and calling them poor bastards. The people that died were fathers, brothers, and sons and you have no right to talk about them this way. You should be ashamed. Don't talk about a story if you do not know the whole. And for those of you posting the information about the families you have no right letting everyone know their business. They have been through enough as is so you need to mind your own damn business.

  8. Paula Linner

    U R wrong. It happened just B4 closing cuz my sister worked there & they closed @ 11pm & she left early 2 catch.a bus or she would've been killed, also.

  9. Anonymous

    I was working in Norfolk prison and knew him not pernonally but from seeing him around brighton in the bar;He personaly lifted his shirt after a brief conversation and showed me the tattoos of the four boling pins. This will live with me forever, I will always feel for the families

  10. Anonymous

    I actually drove for Green Cab at the same time as Brian Dyer. There were card games hosted by other drivers and when Dyer showed up he ruined the game. He would get furious when lost a hand, shout obscenities, slam the table, and shake his head to the point that his false teeth came flying halfway out of his mouth and he would suck them back in… disgusting and terrifying at the same time!
    There was another murder and robbery before Sammy White crime.
    It was the murder of John Silva a dispatcher at a trailor that was used as the Green Cab office. John Silva was shot with a shot gun late at night or early morning, and the money from the drivers cab rentals was gone.
    Everyone suspected Dyer, but I don't think that crime was ever solved.
    Brian Dyer was a very scary and creepy guy. I avoided him as much as I could.

  11. Anonymous

    My mom worked there I was 10 I was there everyday I knew all the victims..Don and the brothers always let me bowl free when the murders happened and I found out went to sammy whites and was freaked out I thought my mom was in there but she was at a dr,s appointment. .few weeks after I was on a Saturday league and broke out in tears and left

  12. Unknown

    Don Doroni was a great guy and terrific bowler. He coached a few of us as teens. The story is that the front door of the building was open as the early crew had to clean up from the evening before. He surprised Doroni as he was coming out from the office. A dear friend, Chris, would have been among the victims, but he had quit shortly before the Fall…this was horrific for those of us who grew up in Brighton.

  13. Anonymous

    I knew Brian and David. Tremendous guys. Great athletes. They played for the Boston Bombers a sort of minor league baseball team back in the day. I can still see David running like lighting. Two gentle souls that cared deeply about those around them. This was such an incredible tragedy, that rocked our neighborhood. I can never forget them and the beautiful people they would be today. Brain was the one who survived the longest, but died on the way to the hospital. There is evil in this world and there is good. David and Brian are the good.

  14. michelle estepe

    David and Brian cobe were my uncle's. David's daughter is my cousin and like my sister and he would be very proud of her. She is a great woman! It's a shame he had to take them away from us before we even got to know them. He never got to see his daughter.

  15. Anonymous

    Brian and David were my friends. I still miss them. The neighborhood we grew up in, the Fenway, was a rough place back in the day, but everyone felt safe when they were around. They were true angels that did not let harm come to others when they were around. I visit their grave regularly and know they are in a better place.

  16. c.o. frank

    Shaky dyer was insane and had a mental defect that made him shake uncontrollably at any moment and this enraged him. As for the murders, he admitted he picked that place to rob cause he was broke and once was fired from working there. The only reason he killed the victims he said was because one of them knew him and could identify him. He said he made them all lie in their stomachs and tied them up. Then he tried to kill them with a bowling pin cause he didn't want anybody to hear shots but when one of them kept groaning be decided to shot each one in the head to get it over with. It is true he got four crude bowling pins tattooed on his chest with each victims name in each pin. It was against institution policy and even though it well know by staff especially in the summer yard, no disciplinary action was taken against him for in my opinion fear he would go off and possibly attack staff seeing he had nothing to lose. He also was a problem with chasing the young new jacks that didn't have prison experience and once he had a kid from Maine go in his cell and the kid finally got away in his underwear but wouldn't rat him out so he got away with breaking rules again. He also sat at the gangster table in the chow hall as if it was a hall of the worst of the worst with ted asuki the Boston co killer, billy barnowski the winter hill bookie killer abd Dan moran who killed a mob associate in Somerville. Shaky worked in the plate shop and would gamble his money on football games. One Friday when industries and the prison yard closed, shaky forgot his glasses and couldn't get back in to get them. I was stationed at the minimum end block entrance door and watched him take a few steps, look a round confused, shake violently in place and cuss like a mad man. He did this repeatedly the entire two hundred yards to the block. I asked him what was wrong and he told me he can't watch the games and bet this weekend cause he forgot his glasses. I called control but the staff member responsible fir the plate shop had already gone home. I looked into his eyes at that moment and knew this guy was a killer and I've met many but he was the worst. He roted away. Got fat and bald and live a tormented miserable prison life for close to forty years. It was better he suffered several life sentences instead of one death penalty. Vote no on capital punishment they dont deserve it.

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