The Story Behind Why Tyler Hadley Murdered His Parents

In July 2011, 17-year-old Tyler Hadley began planning a party, to be held at his parents' home in Port St. Lucie, Florida. As reported by Rolling Stone, Hadley had few friends and was described as being quiet and introverted. The few friends Hadley did have were known to use drugs, and some had a history of criminal behavior. However, as his party invitation was posted on social media, the information was eventually shared with at least 100 people — many of whom did not even know who Hadley was.

Although he did not provide any specific details, Hadley claimed his parents were out of town and would be away for some time. According to Rolling Stone, those who knew Hadley were surprised his parents gave their teenage son permission to throw a house party. They were also somewhat suspicious, as Hadley had never thrown a party before and it seemed out of character for someone who primarily kept to himself.

Around 11 p.m. on July 16, 2011, people began arriving for the party. Rolling Stone reports several of the attendees noted Hadley seemed to be somewhat anxious or nervous. He also asked them to refrain from smoking inside the house, as his parents would be upset if the house smelled like smoke. However, as more people arrived, the party began to get out of control.

Partygoers trashed his parents' house

As reported by Rolling Stone, the guests raided the cupboards, spilled food and drinks on the floor, and, despite Tyler Hadley's warning, were smoking inside the house and tossing their cigarette butts on the floor. At some point during the night, Hadley told his guests to stay inside the house so they did not draw the neighbors' attention.

When Hadley's guests asked where his parents were, he gave them several different answers. He told one of the guests they were in Georgia and another that they were in Orlando. He later told another guest that his parents had actually moved out of the home. According to Rolling Stone, one of the guests, 17-year-old Jose Erazo, suggested Hadley probably killed his parents. His statement was taken as a joke, causing several other guests to laugh at the absurdity.

As the party continued into the early morning hours of July 17, an estimated 100 people were already inside the house, with even more arriving. Around 1 a.m., Hadley pulled a friend aside to confess he had done something unspeakable.

Hadley told a friend where his parents actually were

While the party raged downstairs, the mutilated bodies of Tyler Hadley's parents, 54-year-old Blake Hadley and 47-year-old Mary Jo Hadley, were inside the master bedroom. As reported by ABC News, Tyler confessed to his closest friend, Michael Mandell, that he killed both of his parents just hours before the guests began to arrive.

Mandell, who had known Hadley since they were young children, said he initially thought his friend was telling a macabre joke. When Hadley pointed out that both of his parents' cars were parked in the driveway, Mandell became concerned the story might actually be true. He then made his way through the party guests to the master bedroom.

In an interview with ABC News, Mandell said he saw some blood near a computer desk on the way to the bedroom, and on the outside of the bedroom door. When he opened the door, he was stunned to find Blake and Mary Jo Hadley lying on the floor in a pool of blood.

Rolling Stone reports Hadley then confessed to killing both of his parents with a claw hammer. Hadley told Mandell that he took both of his parents' cell phones and hid them so they couldn't call for help. He then took three ecstasy pills and got a claw hammer out of the garage.

Tyler Hadley killed his parents with a claw hammer

As reported by Rolling Stone, Tyler Hadley approached his mother first, as she was using the computer. He told Michael Mandell he waited a few moments before striking his mother in the back of the head with the hammer. As she began screaming, his father ran into the room and Hadley struck him with the hammer as well.

Hadley said he dragged his parents' bodies into the master bedroom and left the claw hammer on the floor between them. He then spent an estimated three hours cleaning up the evidence of his crime. Rolling Stone reports he threw all the evidence of his crime into the master bedroom on top of his parents' bodies. He then took a shower and prepared to greet his guests.

In an interview with ABC News, Mandell admitted he did not leave the party immediately after learning what his friend had done. He explained, "If you were in my shoes, and that guy was your best friend, you wouldn't want [to] leave right away ... I know how heinous and sick this is, you know, what he did ... I knew it was going to be the last time I ever [saw] him."

Hadley's history of threatening violence against his parents

Despite his mixed emotions, Michael Mandell said he knew he had to report the murder. As soon as he left the party, ABC News reports he called authorities to report Tyler Hadley killed both of his parents, and their bodies were in their bedroom.

The first time that Hadley was reported to have mentioned killing his parents was when he was 10 years old. As reported by Rolling Stone, Hadley told his childhood friend, Mark Andrews, that he had an argument with his mother and wanted to kill both of his parents. However, Andrews did not think anything of it.

In the weeks before the murders, Hadley confided in another close friend, Markey Phillips, that he "wanted to kill his parents and have a big party after." According to Rolling Stone, Markey said he did not believe Hadley was serious, as he had ongoing issues with his parents and frequently expressed anger toward them. Hadley told another friend, Matt Nobile, the same thing — but he also did not believe him.

In the months prior to the murder, Hadley had been arrested, charged with, and convicted of aggravated battery. As it was not his first criminal offense, he was sentenced to a week in jail, followed by two weeks of house arrest.

Tyler Hadley had been angry with his parents for punishing him

Less than one month before the murder, Rolling Stone reports Tyler Hadley's mother had him involuntarily admitted to a mental health facility for counseling as she feared he might harm himself or others. Although he successfully completed the program, he seemed to harbor some resentment toward his parents.

Through the years, Hadley told several friends, including Michael Mandell, that he was physically abused by his father. He also suggested Blake Hadley was not his biological father. However, Mandell said he did not believe any of those things would have prompted Hadley to kill his parents.

As reported by ABC News, Mandell said he thought the murders were prompted by Hadley's mother "over disciplining him." He said Hadley's parents took his car and phone away from him the last time he came home intoxicated, and that may have been "too much" for him.

Several of Hadley's friends blamed his drug use for his state of mind on the afternoon he killed his parents. However, Hadley never revealed a specific motive for the murders.

Rolling Stone reports Hadley was ultimately arrested and charged with two counts of murder. He was subsequently convicted and sentenced to two life terms. He avoided the death penalty because he was under 18 when he committed the crimes.