A South Florida teenager, accused of killing his parents with a hammer and then later hosting a huge party for his friends, will not receive the death sentence if convicted because of his age, officials with the state attorney’s office said yesterday.
Tyler Hadley, 17, was charged with two counts of first degree murder, a crime that is punishable by death or life in prison. In Hadley’s case, if convicted, he would receive life in prison.
“Life in prison without parole is the only viable option that remains on the table for him,” said chief assistant state attorney Thomas Bakkedahl during an interview. “While it may not be satisfying to me, that’s all we’ve got.”
Bakkedahl further notes, “despite the fact that the case may otherwise in all respects warrant the death penalty, we are prohibited from seeking it as a result of him (Hadley) being approximately six months short of his 18th birthday.”
The decision to charge Hadley with first degree murder was made after officials saw the amount of damage done to the bodies of Hadley’s parents during the medical examiner’s autopsy.
“This is not your standard gunshot wound death, where if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all,” prosecutors said.
Hadley’s public attorney, Mark Harllee, told the Associated Press he had met with Hadley, but didn’t discuss the teen’s state of mind. However new evidence is suggesting that perhaps Hadley was influenced by drugs.
In an interview with police Michael Mandell, Hadley’s best friend, told investigators that Hadley admitted he had taken three Ecstasy pills right before the murders, thought the “devil possessed him” and “planned on committing suicide.”
Hadley is charged with the murder of his parents Blake Hadley, 54, and Mary Jo Hadley, 47. Police discovered the victims locked in their bedroom on the 300 block of Northeast Granduer Avenue.
Hadley allegedly killed his parents using a 22-inch framing hammer, typically used for framing wooden houses. He used the hammer to strike his parents in the head and torso and then used books, files and towels to cover their bodies.
Hadley made his first court appearance yesterday via video conference from the St. Lucie County jail. He was denied bail.