Neighbors, family shocked at teen charged with killing parents, hosting party - East Valley Tribune: Nation / World

Neighbors, family shocked at teen charged with killing parents, hosting party

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Posted: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 9:15 am

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Tyler Hadley, the Port St. Lucie teen accused of posting an invitation to a party on Facebook, then killing his parents with a hammer, made his first appearance before a judge Tuesday morning.

Chief Assistant State Attorney Tom Bakkedahl said afterwards that the state's ultimate punishment -- the death penalty -- can't be considered because the U.S. Supreme Court has determined "it would be cruel and unusual to subject minors to the death penalty." he said.

"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 being approximately six-months short of his 18th birthday," Bakkedahl said.

Police accuse Hadley of killing his parents Blake and Mary Jo Hadley. Their bodies were found Sunday morning in their locked bedroom.

"It was a merciless killing. It was brutal and the Facebook invitation -- a party to have your friends and 40 to 60 people come over -- I think speaks for itself," Port St. Lucie police Capt. Don Kryak said, standing at the scene Monday. "The blunt force trauma to the head and torso with a 22-inch framing hammer can effect a considerable amount of injury."

Meanwhile, neighbors and family members described the mother and father as hard-working, nice people, and said no signs of domestic turmoil were evident.

Blake Hadley, 54, was an employee of Florida Power and Light Co. and worked at the St. Lucie Nuclear Plant, according to Doug Andrews, FPL spokesman.

Maurice Hadley of Stuart, Blake Hadley's father, said his son -- who he described as a gentle giant at 6 feet, 4 inches tall and 300 pounds -- was weeks away from celebrating 30 years of employment with FPL.

"He enjoyed his job," Maurice Hadley said. "He was a watch engineer."

Mark Ankrom, Blake Hadley's nephew, said, "He was a good man, a very good man. Not a mean bone in his body and I just can't believe something like this would happen."

Mary Jo Hadley , 47, worked 24 years as an elementary school teacher with the St. Lucie County School District, with her last six years being at Village Green Environmental Studies School. Maurice Hadley described her as "the best daughter-in-law you could have."

The couple lived in their residence on Northeast Granduer Avenue for at least the past 10 years.

"I've known Mary Jo since she was in high school in Fort Lauderdale. They are a nice family. The kids are always nice. They used to come to our house trick-or-treating and they always called me Miss Charlie," said Charlene Moses, a family friend.

Police Capt. Kryak said an older brother of Tyler Hadley moved out a couple of months ago. The relationship Tyler had with his parents and the family dynamics were unclear.

"That's certainly something we want to dive into a little bit more and get a better understanding of what actually takes place in the house," Kryak said.

The Hadleys had attended a family reunion in Georgia earlier this month, Maurice Hadley said.

"It was a time for us to enjoy family from Indiana, Minnesota and Florida," he said. "I didn't see any indication there were any problems between Tyler and his parents. We're still in disbelief and we're still waiting to learn more."

Neighbor Raeann Wallace, 64, said Tyler Hadley was "always a good kid," but said she hadn't seen him for about a year.

"I used to see him getting off the bus and walking home, and a couple of times we'd go on vacation, I'd say, 'Hey Tyler, watch my house, don't let anybody bother my house,'" Wallace said. "Then all of a sudden, I just never saw him anymore."

Hadley was initially arrested as a juvenile, but Monday he was charged as an adult of two counts of 2nd-degree murder with a weapon and is being held without no bond at the St. Lucie County jail.

Early Sunday morning, Port St. Lucie police received an anonymous tip indicating a 17-year-old might have killed his parents and the bodies had been in the home during a party attended by as many as 60 people. Police went to the home about 4:20 a.m. Sunday.

Police believe Tyler Hadley acted alone, but officials don't know a motive. The former St. Lucie West Centennial High School student made no incriminating statements.

Kryak said the Facebook party invitation was posted about 1:15 p.m. or 1:30 p.m. Saturday -- before the homicides occurred. Investigators suspect the teen's mother was killed first, and then his father, and that the slayings happened outside the master bedroom door of the single-story home. Books, files and towels covered their bodies.

When police arrived, Tyler Hadley greeted them.

"He was nervous ... just very nervous when we arrived to do the welfare check," Kryak said. "He just said that his parents were out of town."

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