Tyler Hadley: The Outrageously Wild and Out of Control Rager
Most teenagers go through a rebellious phase. It's just all part of growing up and finding out who you really are. Although most teenagers just engage in some light shoplifting, a little drinking, and some pot smoking, some get in a lot deeper than that. Many of us can recall the parties we attended as teens and young adults, and I'm sure looking back, you could cringe at the nasty state of the house or hotel room. You might wonder how the cops weren't called some nights. Or even how someone didn't get hurt. But could you imagine going to a party broken up by the cops, not over a noise complaint, but a murder accusation? That's what happened in the early morning hours of July 17, 2011, when Tyler Hadley threw his big house party.
Tyler Hadley was born on December 16, 1993, to two very loving and devoted parents, Blake and Mary-Jo Hadley. He was born premature and only weighed 3 pounds and 10 ounces, requiring him to stay in an incubator for the first few weeks of his life. He was a strong and resilient baby though, and he pulled through to come home with his family.
Tyler very much had the all-American childhood as he was raised in an all-American family. The Hadleys resided in Port St. Lucie, Florida, an area known more as a retirement community than a thriving mecca for teenagers and young adults. The land had only been developed by the Mackle brothers in 1961. They had originally bought just 40,000 acres to purpose for retirees looking for a nice, warm, sunny place to spend their golden years. By 1980, the population had grown up to 15,000 and the once small town expanded down the coast into a city that overtook I-95. Port St. Lucie had become one of the fastest growing cities in the US, known for the New York Mets training camp inside the city, and also for weed. During the real estate boom, dealers in Miami started buying up abandoned houses in the city to set up grow operations. Port St. Lucie's new nickname became Pot St. Lucie.
Though it had grown, it was still essentially a retirement community. The area features a dozen golf courses with double the number of assisted-living facilities. There are also 7 funeral homes, 2 bingo halls, and a shuffleboard club. There was absolutely nothing for teenagers to do. They had no access to the beach and no downtown area to hang out at either. The only places that offered any kind of entertainment was a giant arcade called Superplay USA, the State-of-the-Art Family Playground, and a shopping mall 20 minutes down the coast in Stuart.
Even though Port St. Lucie had grown so much, there were still many vacant lots that had never been bought and developed. Driving down a street of 10 to 15 houses with nicely manicured lawns, it's not uncommon to find random lots in between that would remind one of an untamed jungle creeping over the sidewalk. Saw palmettos, wiregrass, wild blueberries, pine flat woods, wax myrtle, fetterbush, and Dahoon holly grow wildly out of the undeveloped areas of the city. The street that the Hadleys lived on, Granduer, had more than half a dozen vacant, undeveloped plots of land.
It was in this environment that Tyler grew up quite happily. He and his father were known to play basketball in the driveway for hours at a time. Summers and weekends were filled with Tyler splashing and laughing in the family's pool in the backyard. He also liked to ride his skateboard and bicycle, and toss the football around in the street in front of his house. When asked once by a neighbor to make sure he didn't hit her car, he simply and respectfully replied, "Yes, ma'am." This same neighbor would also come to Tyler to watch over her house while she went out of town with her husband. Friends, family, and neighbors all remember Tyler as a respectful, polite, quiet little boy.
He also had a very close relationship with his parents as a child. He would wait up late at night for his father to get off work from the power plant every night. He seemed to be close with his mother as well. In one instance in his adolescence, Tyler got into an argument with his mother and told her to shut up. He felt so terrible for saying such a thing to her that he immediately apologized.
By all accounts, Tyler had a stable childhood in a very loving home. His parents both worked steadily, so there were never any worries of money in the family, either. Blake was a watch engineer that spent 30 years employed at Florida Light and Power. Mary-Jo was a dedicated elementary school teacher that truly never left a struggling student behind. Blake and Mary-Jo made sure that their children were raised in a safe, nice neighborhood. Yeah, there was crime in Port St. Lucie, but there really weren't any bad neighborhoods in the entire city. Even without any entertainment for children and teenagers, it's still pretty easy to see why so many families wanted to raise children in this area.
There was really only one blip in Tyler's childhood that people would later point to as foreshadowing. When he was 10-years-old, Tyler got into a big argument with Mary-Jo and ran down the street to a friend's house afterward to vent his frustrations. He went to his friend, Mark Andrews, whose younger brother was also friends with Tyler's younger brother. As the two little boys talked, Tyler expressed his desire to kill his parents to his friend. Mark didn't think much of this and talked his friend down with no trouble at all. He simply told Tyler that it's normal for parents to piss their kids off. Just a fact of life, really. Tyler calmed down and the incident was forgotten about for the next seven years.
As he eased into adolescence, Blake and Mary-Jo began to notice a dramatic change in their son. Tyler had become withdrawn, sullen, and quite troublesome. At the age of 10 he was already being treated by doctors for acne, depression, growth hormones, a thyroid condition, and everything in between. It's no doubt that adolescence was difficult to navigate with so many issues to face already. It was between the ages of 11 and 13 that Tyler really started to become a handful. At this time he was already claiming to have vandalized public bathrooms with permanent markers, shoe-painted people's cars, broken windows and other things in people's yards, stolen Christmas lights from people's properties, and even set a wildlife preserve on fire. This kid sounds like Dennis the Menace met a worse influence and had a baby.
On the occasion that Tyler actually lit a wildlife preserve on fire, it wasn't hard to figure out who had set the blaze. He had just been seen two weeks prior to the fire at the River Park Wildlife Preserve by one of his friend's mothers. The woman caught Tyler smoking a cigarette and immediately stopped her son from hanging out with Tyler. When the other mother confronted Mary-Jo about the incident, she responded with, "My son doesn't smoke." Mary-Jo was assured that the woman had definitely seen Tyler smoking, to which she replied, "Well. You know Tyler." Just two weeks later Tyler was back at the River Park Wildlife Preserve. This time, he doused an abandoned couch in gasoline and lit it up. The fire spread and caused a serious amount of damage.
By the time Tyler was just 12-years-old he was already drinking. At the age of 15 he was smoking weed, and by 16 he was taking Percocets, Xanax, Oxycodone, ecstasy, and a hallucinogen known as DMT. Blake and Mary-Jo weren't oblivious to his drug use. They became very aware very quickly and tried to get him all the help that they could. They took him to a psychiatrist and put him on antidepressants, and he was also enrolled in an outpatient mental health and substance abuse program. No matter what they tried, nothing seemed to help. The spring before his big house party, Tyler was arrested and received an assault and battery charge for a fight he'd gotten into at a friend's house. Due to his juvenile record from a previous burglary conviction, he spent a week at Port St. Lucie County Jail before spending another two weeks on house arrest.
His latest run-in with the law hadn't done anything to curb his wild behavior. Just a month before his infamous party, he came home "smashed as fuck," as he put it. On this night Tyler had gotten so drunk that he urinated on his friend, Desiree Gerhard's bed. After that night Mary-Jo invoked the Baker Act, a Florida law that allows parents or guardians to commit their children to psychiatric treatment if they're under the age of 18. This law is only enacted if it's deemed that there is a "substantial likelihood" that the child will cause "serious bodily harm" to themselves or others. Tyler was admitted to a mental heath clinic called New Horizons. There, he was required to attend counseling daily. As Mary-Jo had been diagnosed with depression and was well aware the struggle it causes, she feared passing the condition to Tyler.
It was just a week before the big party, and Tyler actually seemed to be improving. Mary-Jo was raving to friends and family about how well her son was doing, saying that he "was over the hurdle." A friend of her's would later report that Mary-Jo really felt as though he were getting back to the old Tyler. That week he went with his parents to Georgia for a family reunion. No one in the entire family noticed anything out of the ordinary. By all accounts Tyler was perfectly fine throughout the trip. His grandfather later said of the reunion, "It was a time for us to enjoy family from Indiana, Minnesota, and Florida. I didn't see any indication there were any problems between Tyler and his parents."
Though the week before the party had seemed like a major turn-around on Tyler's part, it had happened awfully sudden. Just two weeks before he threw his big bash, no pun intended, Tyler had once again come home drunk. This time he had his cell phone and his car taken from him. He wasn't happy about his punishment and made his frustrations known to his best friend, Michael Mandell. The two had been friends since they were only 8-years-old and had grown up just a block away from each other. Tyler told Michael that he wanted to kill his parents, but of course Michael never took him seriously. He just thought that Tyler was mad about the punishment and was venting his anger. He never for a second thought that he meant it.
Whether Michael realized it or not, Tyler was telling others of his desire to kill his parents. Just two nights before the party he had been hanging out with his friend, Markey Philips. The two had just been playing video games and watching television. Nothing special or out of the ordinary. Out of nowhere, Tyler told his friend that he wanted to kill his parents and throw a party. He said that no one had ever done anything like that before. Then, he stated that he wanted to throw his party with the bodies still in the house. Thinking this was all a bad joke, Markey just replied with, "That's crazy."
In the week leading up to the party Tyler had been letting friends know that he was going to have a party. He didn't tell everyone of his entire plan, which is why the thought of Tyler Hadley throwing a party was so incredulous. His friends knew how strict his parents had become lately. There was no way Blake and Mary-Jo were allowing a party or trusting Tyler to stay home alone. When he was asked if the party was still on, he would give answers like, "I'm working on it." This just sounds all the more eerie knowing what he did later.
No one assumed anything by his response. They all figured that the party was off. The few people that he had mentioned his intentions to just figured it was Tyler being Tyler. He had been known throughout his adolescence as being kind of a bizarre kid. He was quiet and withdrawn most of the time, but was prone to random, nonsensical outbursts. His classmates would later comment on his odd behavior, saying that he would just blurt things out at random. They also recalled one instance where he just started mooing like a cow for no reason whatsoever.
Tyler's Facebook messages were very telling of his state of mind in the months leading up to his party. In messages between he and Isadora Gascho, he seemed to be bragging about his recent stay in jail following the assault and battery charge, while simultaneously swinging into bouts of depression.
Tyler: "don't text me about drugs"
Isadora: "what happen?"
Tyler: "my mom has it because i got arrested on Monday and shes flippin shit...i just got out today."
Isadora: "oh shit..."
Tyler: "FUCKIN SHIT SUCCKKKKEEEDD"
Isadora: "u bad kid"
Tyler: "Just kidding...its a pirates life for me"
Tyler: "ok im done with all the nautical nonsenseIsadora Gascho. :-)"
Isadora: ur so sillyyy"
Isadora: "what r u doing?"
Tyler: "nothing, considering suicide"
Tyler: "ummm...because i wanna die i guess?"
As his big night drew closer and his plan became clearer, the messages grew more grim. Right after losing his phone and his car two weeks prior to the party, he messaged his friend, Mercedes Maxine Marko. She, like everyone else, just thought that Tyler was mad about being punished. Why would high school students have a reason to suspect that one of their classmates could be capable of something terrible?
Tyler: "lol yup shes a cunt fa sho i might kill her"
Mercedes: "Omg! no jail!! Or i mean prison! Lol"
Tyler: "oh well"
Though his messages showed a boy that was deeply angered, his behavior made his parents believe otherwise. They had no idea the kind of storm that was brewing inside that boy's head. The night before the party the three of them went out to dinner as a family. Tyler seemed to be in good spirits according to a friend that he ran into after dinner. He stopped at a Circle K with his parents on their way home and talked to his friend, Cameron Adams. Cameron asked how his parents were doing, to which Tyler replied, "Oh, they're all right." Cameron also told him that it was his birthday that night. Tyler said, "Happy birthday! Come to my house tomorrow, I'm having a party. We'll celebrate."
Even though his parents were convinced of his improvement, Tyler seemed to be wearing a mask for them. July 16, 2011, arrived and everyone in town was wondering if Tyler was going to have his party that night. At 11:25 that morning Tyler messaged his friend, Antonio Ramirez to invite him to his party.
Tyler: "sup bra"
Antonio: "Chillen what you doin tonight?"
Tyler: "tryin to have a party at my crib"
Antonio: "Your parents ain't home?"
Tyler: "well their leasvin soon"
He must have been feeling slightly more confident when he made a post to his Facebook wall. "party at my crib tonight...maybe" No one really believed his post right away. Those that knew Tyler were still dumbfounded as to how he could get his parents to allow such a thing. At 9:40 that morning Tyler messaged with a friend named Matt Nobile, who had known of his intentions. This friend actually encouraged him to go through with the plan. How he didn't end up with a charge of his own, I really don't know.
Matt: "did you do it"
Tyler: "no but im gonna"
Matt: "u really shoul now"
Matt: "do it"
Tyler: "dont worry I am"
Tyler: "then im having a party"
Matt: "yeah party time *****!"
Later into the evening Tyler took three ecstasy pills and blasted a song called "Feel Lucky" by Lil Boosie. All of this wasn't so he could set a mood and enjoy a mellow high on a Saturday night. All of this was preparation for what was to come next. Tyler needed the drugs to to be able to kill his parents. He just didn't think that he could do it sober. He also needed the song to help psych himself up for what he was about to do.
It was shortly before 5:00 that evening when the ecstasy kicked in. To ensure that his parents would be completely unable to call for help, he hid their cell phones. Most publications would later refer to this as an eerie callback to his mother taking his phone. Likely, Tyler wasn't even thinking about this when he hid the phones. He was probably just making sure that his plan went off without a hitch.
Once the drugs had taken effect and the phones were well out of reach, he walked into the garage. He grabbed a 17 inch, 22 ounce, wooden-handled framing hammer and then walked into the living room. Mary-Jo was sitting at her computer with her back towards her son. As she worked diligently, she had no idea that her son was standing behind her with a terrible intention. Tyler said that he stood behind his mother for a full five minutes just thinking about what he was going to do. Finally, he struck, bashing her in the back of the head with the claw end of the hammer. Mary-Jo just screamed, "Why?" She received no response and no mercy for her cries.
Mary-Jo's guttural screams were heard by her husband, who came running from the master bedroom. He stopped in disbelief at the sight before him. His loving, caring wife was laying dead and bloody on the living room floor. His son was standing over her, blood-covered hammer still in his hand. The two locked eyes and just stood there, staring at each other for what must have felt like a horrifying eternity. When Blake could finally muster words he only managed to get one out. "Why?" Tyler coldly replied, "Why the fuck not?"
He went after his father and beat him to death with the claw end of the hammer as well. Blake did not even try to fight his son, a true testament to the love he felt for Tyler. For the next three hours, Tyler attempted to clean up the bloody, gory mess that he had made of his entire life. He scrubbed the blood, dragged the bodies into the master bedroom, and buried them in furniture and all the incriminating evidence. By the time he was done Blake and Mary-Jo Hadley lay dead and buried beneath dining room chairs, a coffee table, a pile of pillowcases, bloody towels, shattered glass, Clorox wipes, a sponge mop, books, and coffee grounds. As well as Tyler thought he had cleaned the house in his drug-fueled haze, he hadn't done even close to a good enough job.
At 8:15 that evening, Tyler made another post to Facebook, "party at my house hmu" He received a message from his friend, Ashley Haze, after his status update. She, much like a lot of others, couldn't believe there would actually be a party.
Ashley: "WHOA what what if your parents come home"
Tyler: "they won't"
Tyler: "trust me"
By about 11:30 that night the party was really starting to get underway. Kids from all over the city were showing up. A lot of the guests that went that night didn't even know Tyler. They had just heard about this big, blowout rager from others and decided to check it out for themselves. In a smaller city with nothing to entertain the teenagers living there, it didn't long for word to spread and kids to descend on the house in droves.
It was around 11:30 that night that Mike Young recalls arriving at the strangest party of his life. He, like many others, only knew Tyler by name. Mike was a junior in high school at the time and he tended to gravitate towards a much different crowd than Tyler's. He was athletic, popular, and well known around school. He had been hanging out with friends throughout the evening, but had nothing to do that night. The kids had already spent three hours at the mall, milling around before spending another hour at McDonald's. When they heard about the party, they thought that it was at least worth checking out.
When Mike arrived with 10 of his friends in tow, Tyler answered the door wearing a long black T-shirt, black Dickies pants, and black Nike Air Force high-top sneakers. It was clear to anyone that laid eyes on him that he was high. His eyes were large and white, his pupils enlarged like dark saucers sitting in the milky centers of his eyes. As it was typical of Tyler to be quite high, it didn't raise a single eyebrow. After all, it was a party. A lot of people were doing drugs. Tyler immediately told the boys upon entering his house, "I don't want no one smoking inside. It's my parent's house."
Throughout the night guests would notice Tyler nervously rubbing his hands together and clenching his fists. No one thought it was overly strange since he was clearly rolling quite hard on ecstasy. As Tyler nervously tried to hold his composer, 60 kids poured into the house. They played beer pong on the dining room table, gathered in groups in the front yard, tossed beer cans wherever they stood, urinated in neighbor's yards, and raided the kitchen cabinets. Before the party was even halfway over it already looked like a war zone in that house.
As bottles were knocked over and smashed to the ground, kids just laughed it off. Despite the no smoking rule in place at the start of the party, cigarettes were extinguished on the walls, the rug, and the kitchen counter. Dishes began to pile up as kids made instant macaroni and cheese and whatever else they could find in the kitchen. The destruction and the mess didn't seem to bother Tyler at all. It was the noise that made him anxious. Under no circumstance did he want the police called to his party. He eventually told the guests, "Actually, just stay in the house. You can smoke inside. I don't care."
Mike Young sat in the living room as he talked to some girls. He noticed a skateboarder stumbling by and heard him comment with a giggle, "I smell dead people." Mike looked at him with confusion, "What's that supposed to mean?" He asked the boy. "Oh, I don't know. Some people are smoking, that's all," the skater boy replied before wandering off. Mike just shrugged it off saying, "All right, dude. Whatever." The boy was one of Tyler's friends and had obviously been partying quite hard that night. Mike likely figured these were just the strange, random ramblings of someone that needed to go lie down for a while.
A large crowd gathered around the beer pong table, sitting next to the computer. Kids took turns playing all their favorite songs on YouTube, completely oblivious to what the thick, sticky stains on the keyboard were. With the house in such disarray, they all figured that it had to be spilled beer or Coca-Cola coating the keys. It was actually Mary-Jo Hadley's blood. As Jose Erazo played a round of beer pong, he heard someone comment, "Oh, he killed his parents." This statement was punctuated by an eruption of laughter and then seemingly forgotten about.
It's not like those that knew Tyler didn't have questions. They were curious about where his parents were. For every person that asked, Tyler had a different answer. To Mark Andrews he said, "They went to Georgia." When Ryan Stonesifer asked he said, "They're in Orlando." He even told Richard Wouters, "They don't live here. This is my house."
By midnight there were 100 people in attendance. It seemed like every teenager and young adult in Port St. Lucie was at Tyler Hadley's house that night. Everyone except Tyler's friend, Markey Philips. He had gone out of town to Chicago to visit with his grandparents that weekend. With so many packed into the house, the Hadley's two dogs were hiding and cowering in fear of the chaos. They had a black Labrador and a beagle named Sophie that was partially deaf and blind. By the end of the night Sophie was hiding in Tyler's older brother's room while the Labrador was locked in the master bedroom with Blake and Mary-Jo. The room had been vacant since Tyler's brother, Ryan had moved to North Carolina for college six weeks prior.
Ryan's bedroom hadn't been excluded from the destruction. His room was ripped apart by the party guests for no reason at all. By the end of the night Ryan's clothes and bedding were scattered all over the floor. His bed frame had been cracked and underneath Sophie shook in fear.
A girl named Stephanie Castaneda arrived with her friend, Joshua Korte, sometime around midnight. Stephanie had a crush on Tyler, but she really didn't know him well at all. That explains the crush perfectly. When she walked inside she found Tyler standing nervously and awkwardly by the computer. He wasn't talking to any of his friends. He was just standing there in silence. When Stephanie made a trip to the bathroom she found Sophie cowering in the shower, shaking.
William Goodall had known Tyler since they were in the sixth grade, but the two hadn't hung around each other much since starting high school. When Tyler started getting into smoking weed, William stopped hanging around. When he arrived at the party that night he didn't notice anything strange about his old friend's behavior. He mentioned later that he really couldn't tell that Tyler was acting strangely because he was always a pretty strange kid to begin with. It would seem that many people felt the same way.
It was 12:30 in the morning when the party started running low on beer. Tyler asked his friend, Mark Andrews, who was 21 at the time, and his girlfriend, Ashley Gershman, to drive him to the Sunoco station a block away. He handed Mark a wadded up ball of $20 bills and asked him to get four cases of Busch Light. While Mark ran inside to buy the beer, Tyler waited in the car with Ashley. As they quietly waited, Tyler mentioned to Ashley that his father had died. Ashley thought that he meant his father had passed away a long time ago. She didn't know Tyler well enough to know any better.
When the three got back to the house, kids were playing beer pong with water due to the beer shortage. One boy walked through the house with a baggie of round white pills, selling them for a dollar a piece. Another boy wandered the party selling weed to willing customers.
Anthony Snook got there at 12:45 that morning after receiving a text saying that Tyler's party was the "biggest thing ever." When he arrived he respectfully approached the host to show his gratitude for the party. Anthony said, "Thanks for throwing this party, man. How've you been?" Tyler flatly responded, "All right." Anthony had always known Tyler to be a gloomy, introverted kind of kid that would laugh at his own jokes and regularly avoided eye contact. Tyler had never been a chaotic or wild person, but this was the wildest, most chaotic party Anthony had ever seen. He noticed that Tyler was eerily calm throughout it.
His calm was finally shattered when a boy took his shirt off and ran out of the house screaming. The kid came back proudly holding a mailbox over his head as though he were a conqueror. Tyler yelled at the boy, "Where the fuck did you get that?" The boy triumphantly proclaimed, "I took it off the neighbor's lawn!" He then started running all over the living room with the mailbox held high for all to see. The boy knocked beer bottles over in his tear through the room, making a big mess as well as an ass of himself. Tyler lost his temper and began yelling at the boy that stealing a mailbox was a felony and someone would definitely call the cops. The mailbox was returned to the street and the party continued.
Anthony Snook was settling into the chaotic atmosphere as he wandered about the house. He noticed that the door to the master bedroom was closed and thought that people were probably getting high in there. He tried to enter the room only to find that the door was locked. When he looked down, he noticed something that resembled an oil-based paint that someone had spilled and tried to wipe away. The stain was about a foot in length, but the house was too dark to see exactly what it was. Anthony just shrugged it off and went back to the party.
A collegiate soccer player known only as Justin Wright, as his name was withheld, got the party at 1:15 that morning. He said that upon walking into the house the first thing he noticed was the stench. It was described as smelling like sweaty clothes that had been sitting around for entirely too long. By the time Justin arrived the war zone state of the house had deteriorated even further. The white ceramic tiles in the home were thick and sticky with spilled liquids of every variety, including blood. Several picture frames that had hung on the walls were gone. The ones that remained hung crooked at all angles. The kitchen was piled high with crusty, dirty dishes that were just laid wherever.
For some reason after seeing this Justin asked if there were any house rules. Not surprisingly Tyler said, "Just do whatever you want." He got into a game of beer pong and apparently decided not to let the disgusting mess or the terrible smell get to him. As the game went on, Justin's ball got away from him and rolled under the table. It came to stop in a sticky, thick brown liquid unknown to everyone there. Justin just took the ball into the kitchen and pushed past a mountain of dirty dishes to rinse it off. The game was continued and the incident forgotten about until later.
Mark Andrews finally decided that he had had enough party for that night. As he was about to leave and go home for the night, Tyler asked to speak privately with him. The two walked outside together and Tyler ordered all the other kids inside before the neighbors called the cops. Once they had all retreated back into the house, Tyler turned to his older friend. He was clearly anxious and ready to get something off of his chest.
"Dude, I did some things. I might go to prison. I might go away for life. I don't know, dude, I'm freaking out right now," Tyler confessed. Mark asked, "What are you talking about?" Tyler replied frantically, "Dude, I know you are not going to believe me, no one will believe me. I freakin' killed somebody." Mark was stunned and taken aback when he responded, "Dude, you killing somebody is your own business. Don't be telling me that sort of thing. I don't need to know."
Tyler walked back inside, likely not knowing how to feel about Mark's reaction. He ran into 18-year-old Ricardo Acevedo as he wandered back into his party. The two had only just met that night and had no previous interactions before. Ricardo jovially approached and spoke to Tyler.
"Thanks for having us over and thanks for the beer," he said politely. Tyler flatly replied, "I just wanted to do something fun before I left." "Where are you going?" Ricardo asked, likely just being friendly and making small talk. Tyler bluntly replied, "I'm going to kill myself." Ricardo reacted to the blatant response, "Why would you do that?" "Cause I did something really bad." Ricardo attempted to talk him down, "What'd you do? It can't be that bad." Tyler simply replied, "Don't worry. If I get caught I'll be in jail a long time."
This wasn't the only ominous conversation he would have before the end of the night. He also wasn't through confessing, either. He walked into his bedroom and found his old friend, then 20-year-old Kimberly Thieben. At the time she was known by her nickname, K-Nasty. She lived only two houses down from Tyler and had been quite close with him. He told her that night, "I'm going away for 60 years." She asked why, but he would only told her that she would find out the next day.
It was at 1:00 in the morning that Tyler asked his best friend, Michael Mandell, to walk outside with him to speak privately. The two boys had been friends since they were only 8-years-old. This probably made Tyler feel more comfortable around him than anyone else he knew. That night Tyler had spent much of the party sitting beside Michael, staring into space while his best friend interacted with the other guests. After they left the wild scene inside the house, they continued to walk down the street until they reached the stop sign at the end of the block.
Tyler nervously confessed to his friend, "I killed my parents." Michael, thinking this was a sick joke, said, "Yeah right." "Michael, I'm being real. I'm not lying to you. If you look closely enough you can see the signs," Tyler assured him as he pointed out the driveway.
Blake's black Toyota Tacoma and Mary-Jo's red Ford Expedition was still there. If the Hadleys had gone out of town, then why were both of their cars still sitting there? Michael still didn't believe the confession. Who would? The whole thing seemed like a bad movie.
Michael pulled Tyler into the garage. "What's going on here? I want to see them dead, if you really did it. I don't believe you," he said firmly. Tyler just told him to wait for the party to die down some. Then he would show Michael everything. It didn't take long for Michael to decide that he wasn't waiting for the party to settle. It showed no signs of slowing any time soon, anyway.
Michael walked straight to the master bedroom to see for himself. Tyler's friend, Max Mazer, saw Michael leaving the master bedroom. Max said that he looked deranged as he ran from the room, slamming the door behind him like, "he was looking over both shoulders." Even after he confirmed that Blake and Mary-Jo were dead, he stayed at the party for a few more hours. He even took some selfies of him and Tyler before he left that night. He knew that it was going to be the last time he saw his best friend. He also found 10 Percocets sitting in Tyler's bedroom and hid the pills from him. Tyler had intended to commit suicide with the drugs when the party was over.
In a later interview Michael would say, "I know how sick and heinous this is, you know, what he did. But, you...wouldn't have ran away, because you're comfortable with this guy. You don't see him as a killer." When asked about the selfies taken with Tyler, Michael said, "I knew it was going to be the last time I ever saw him."
At almost 2:00 in the morning a guest stood from their seat and announced to the crowd that there was another house party going on at the home of one of Mike Young's neighbors. The teenagers rose and formed an inebriated hoard as they stampeded to the front door. Beer cans and plastic cups were tossed to the ground as the kids moved on to better things. Car doors flew open and people piled in. Tires screeched and squealed leaving the block as stereo systems blasted music into the otherwise quiet, still night. A motorcade of 14 cars left Granduer that night, disturbing the residents that were just trying to sleep.
Joshua Korte was getting settled in his car, just about to pull out when he was startled by something slamming up against his window. It was Tyler, wondering where everyone was going. Joshua told him that they were all going to another party. He said that Tyler almost seemed relieved when he replied, "Oh. All right." Joshua would later recall that Tyler's face was a blank canvas when he spoke with him.
When the teenagers left the Hadley home they finally grated the last of the neighbor's nerves. Cars were drifting into their yards as kids drunkenly sped away to the next party. One neighbor would even call the police when a group of boys began peeking into her window. They were all confused as to how the Hadleys had allowed something like this to happen. They weren't the type of parents to allow wild parties or to leave their children home alone.
The police arrived at Tyler's house and rang the doorbell shortly after being called. At that time less than 20 guests remained. Tyler hid everyone in his bedroom and told them to be quiet before answering the door. The officers explained that there had been noise complaints and Tyler spoke with them for a few minutes. Since the house appeared to be quiet and empty, they left and the party reconvened.
Meanwhile, the motorcade was arriving at the next party to find that it was only a rumor. The dark, silent neighborhood was brought to life just after 2:00 that morning with a stream of cars flooding the street. Their stereos still blared loudly, their headlights cut through the black night, their hooting, hollering, and laughter added to the chaos they seemed to bring along. When they pulled up to the darkened, sleepy house they had come to party at, a girl walked outside wearing pajamas. She appeared, tired, confused, and was clearly not expecting guests.
By about 2:30 the guests started coming back to Tyler's, not ready to stop the party. A 16-year-old cheerleader from Tyler's school arrived with her friends to find Tyler acting particularly strange. He slammed the door shut behind them and began checking windows and closing blinds. He acted as though he thought someone was after him. He started to pace the floors back and forth as he nervously touched his hair.
Though he seemed anxious, he told his friend, David Garcia, "The party was fun. I might have another one tomorrow night." Then he told David that he "might be going away for a while." David, thinking nothing of this, asked, "Are you moving or vacation?" Tyler replied, "Just going away." "Are you coming back?" David asked, curiously. Tyler bluntly said, "I don't know because I'm think about killing myself."
To avoid any further attention from police, Tyler turned off all the lights in the front rooms. By this point Michael had already hidden his pills and left. Ryan Stonesifer left at 3:00 and later said that Tyler was standing in the darkened kitchen making himself a sandwich in the middle of the overwhelming mess. At 4:40 that morning, Tyler made another Facebook post, "party at my house again hmu" There's no way to know now how long the party would've continued with Blake and Mary-Jo lying in their bedroom, dead. At the time Tyler was updating his Facebook status, police were already on their way to the house. They weren't coming because of a noise complaint this time.
After Michael left the party and returned home, he called Crimestoppers with a heavy heart at 4:24 that morning. Tyler was his best friend, but he'd loved Blake and Mary-Jo, too. He had just as many good memories of them as he had of Tyler growing up. Michael anonymously tipped authorities off to the crime scene hidden beneath the incredible mess the teenagers had managed to make. He gave Tyler's full confession to the hotline and hung up, knowing he'd done the right thing.
He said in his interview later, "The...worst feeling had to have been realizing...that his parents are gone." Of the situation as a whole, he said, "I makes me realize...you never really know anyone. And since this, you know, I have trust issues. And I feel like I'll probably, you know, never fully trust any new stranger that I meet again."
When the police arrived Tyler told them that his parents were out of town. He tried to refuse them entry to the house, but due to the anonymous tip they made an emergency entry. The arrest affidavit noted that "Tyler seemed to be very nervous, frantic, and very talkative while speaking to the officers." When police entered they immediately noticed the destruction, disarray, and smell of the house. Beer bottles and cigar tobacco littered the floor, furniture was tossed all over the house, and blood had dried on the walls.
When they made their way through the masses of garbage to the master bedroom, they had to force their way through the door. Once inside, the sight absolutely appalled them. Dining room chairs and a coffee table were just tossed on top of the bed. Cleaning supplies, coffee grounds, bloody towels, pillowcases, and broken glass mingled in with the piled furniture. Underneath it all was Blake and Mary-Jo Hadley's lifeless bodies, Blake's leg sticking out from the pile.
Tyler was arrested and charged with two counts of first degree murder. He originally plead not guilty to both counts. Less than a month before the trial was set to begin he changed his plea to no contest, or guilty. His defense tried to get him a 40-year concurrent sentence to no avail. He was given two life sentences to be served consecutively with no possibility of parole. Though he was arrested in 2011, Tyler wasn't finally sentenced until 2014, when he was 20-years-old. At 25, Tyler was re-sentenced and the judge upheld the original verdict. He felt that the right decision had been made the first time around and that Tyler was exactly where he needed to be.
Tyler's family felt the same about the decision to uphold his two life sentences. They feel as though they've had their wounds opened and re-opened through the two funerals and the court dates. They expressed their hope that no appeals would be filed and they could be left to grieve in peace. Although they don't want to see Tyler in court ever again, he comes up for an automatic review after 25 years, which starts from the time of his arrest. At that time a judge will decide if his sentence is still appropriate based on his behavior and conduct in prison. Seeing as how he was re-sentenced so quickly before, I doubt they will change their minds in 2036. In the slim likelihood that they do, his sentence could be reduced.
The community was shocked, not just by the murders, but by the troubled boy that committed them. As details unfolded friends and neighbors learned the truth about what was going on inside in Hadley home. Tyler's struggles with mental health and substance abuse, the fact that he had suffered from bulimia, and the near constant fights between he and his parents. When asked what drove him to it, he said that it was a combination of rap music, constants fights with Blake and Mary-Jo, and the family's financial problems. As I mentioned earlier, both parents worked steadily and there were never any financial struggles faced by the Hadley family. Tyler would later show remorse for his actions, but it was way too little, too late.
Tyler Hadley never got to throw his second party. It's quite likely that after this the guests never attended another one, either. One could say that Tyler's party was the one to end all parties. It most certainly ended the lives of two very special, loving parents that would've done anything to help their son. In the end, Blake and Mary-Jo quite literally laid down and died for that boy to throw the worst party ever thrown. After all of this I'm still left wondering how Matt Nobile didn't end up with his own charge for encouraging the crime just so he could party that night. I think we all hope that he grew up and became a better person.