Tyler Hadley, the Florida 17-year-old who allegedly bludgeoned his parents to death with a hammer and then invited dozens of friends via Facebook to a house party while the bodies lay in a bedroom, was indicted on two counts of first-degree murder, say authorities.
The grand jury indictment, handed down on Wednesday, upgrades what were originally two counts of second-degree murder with a weapon in the July 16 deaths of Blake and Mary Jo Hadley. No motive in the case has been reported.
Acting on an anonymous tip, on Sunday morning July 17 officers visited the Hadley home, where a “nervous” Tyler initially told them his parents were out of town.
According to CNN, the grand jury heard testimony from Hadley’s uncle along with the lead detective in the case, the medical examiner and a crime scene investigator.
“We felt there was sufficient evidence to support the first-degree murder charges, and we planned all along to submit the case to the grand jury,” said Tom Bakkedahl, assistant state’s attorney for St. Lucie County, Fla. “It’s the first step in a long journey.”
If convicted, Hadley faces a mandatory life sentence. Though he was charged as an adult, his age prevents prosecutors from seeking the death penalty against him.
BY STEPHEN M. SILVERMAN