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Mom screamed 'Why?' during hammer attack, cops say

A Florida teen accused of beating his parents to death with a hammer told a friend that he stood behind his mom for five minutes before deciding to attack, according to police documents.
Tyler Hadley, 17, of Port St. Lucie, Fla. Hadley is accused of beating his parents to death with a hammer and then throwing a party.AP
/ Source: staff and news service reports

A Florida teenager accused of beating his parents to death with a hammer told a friend that he stood behind his mother for about five minutes before deciding to attack her, according to police documents released Wednesday.

Police said Tyler Hadley, 17, appeared "nervous, frantic and very talkative," with enlarged pupils and a "blank stare," when they arrived at the family's Port St. Lucie home the morning after the slayings.

Officers say they had received a tip from a friend, identified only as "MM," that Hadley confessed to killing his parents as he hosted a party at the family's suburban home.

By the friend's account, as documented within a juvenile arrest affidavit, Hadley's mother was sitting at a bedroom computer when Hadley decided to hit her in the back of the head with the hammer. According to the documents, she screamed one question to her son: "Why?"

The friend said that the father then walked into the bedroom and he and Hadley "stared into each other's eyes" before Hadley attacked him, according to the police documents.

Hadley is charged with murder in the deaths of Blake and Mary-Jo Hadley and is being held without bond. He made his first court appearance before a Florida judge Tuesday and saw charges against him reduced to second-degree murder from first-degree murder.

When officers arrived at the home early Sunday, the parent's bodies were found in the master bedroom covered with books, towels and office folders. A hammer was found between the bodies.

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

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

The teen took his parents' cell phones away ahead of the attack and put them in his bedroom so they couldn't call for help, according to his friend's account. He also showed the friend a credit card he had taken from them so that he could obtain money, the friend said, according to the police documents. He also told the friend he planned to kill himself by taking 10 Percocet pills.

Police said the wounds they found on the victims' bodies were consistent with a claw hammer.

Assistant State Attorney Tom Bakkehdal said the prosecution would press for life in prison. Because Hadley is six months shy of his 18th birthday, he is not eligible for the death penalty.

News of the killings shocked people in the quiet coastal town. "He was always a good kid," neighbor Raeann Wallace told local TV station WNPV.

At the party, Hadley had asked his friend to step outside to talk, according to the juvenile arrest affidavit, where he described the killings. When the friend wasn't convinced, Hadley showed him friend a bloody footprint in the garage and, then the master bedroom.

"He observed human legs beneath a pile of items that had been thrown on the floor," according to the documents. 

Reuters contributed to this report.