Florida teen charged with killing parents before hosting party

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 19, 2011 5:58 PM

By Manuel Rueda

MIAMI (Reuters) - A Florida teenager accused of beating his parents to death with a hammer and then holding a party in the house where their bodies lay in the master bedroom was charged on Tuesday with second degree murder.

Tyler Hadley, 17, made his first appearance before a Florida judge and saw charges against him reduced to second-degree murder after his initial arrest for first degree murder. He was appointed a public defender and denied bail.

Investigators said Hadley used a hammer on Saturday to kill his father, Blake Hadley, and his mother, Mary-Jo. Hours later, he hosted a party at the family's suburban home in Port St. Lucie, sending out Facebook invitations to more than 40 friends, they said.

The bodies of his parents were found by police early on Sunday in the master bedroom covered with books, towels and office folders. A hammer was found between both bodies.

"It was a merciless killing." Port St. Lucie Police Capt. Don Kryak told reporters. "It was brutal."

Officers had initially visited the Hadley home in the early hours of Sunday in response to a complaint about noise from the party. They returned three hours later and found the parents' bodies after receiving a tip-off about the killings.

Some who attended the party told local media that Hadley killed his parents because they had planned to stop the event, but police have not yet given a motive for the killings.

Port St. Lucie Police Department spokesman Thomas Nicholls said Hadley's relationship with his parents was being investigated. He added the teen had so far made no incriminating statements.

Assistant State Attorney Tom Bakkehdal said the prosecution would press for life in prison. Because Hadley is six months shy of his eighteenth birthday, he is not eligible for the death penalty.

News of the double murder shocked locals in the quiet costal town. "He was always a good kid," neighbor Raeann Wallace told local TV station WNPV.

(Reporting by Manuel Rueda; editing by Pascal Fletcher and Cynthia Johnston)