Rolling Stone just released a long-form article on the Tyler Hadley case, which you can read here. I won’t go too deeply into the background or even into this post because the whole thing is fairly depressing, but essentially, Hadley was a teenager in Port St. Lucie, FL. There are differing accounts of his relationship with his parents, his self-image, his drug/alcohol use, etc. but he stands accused of killing his parents with a claw hammer, hosting a party at their house that night with the bodies in the back bedroom, bragging to a few friends about what he did, and now, apparently, signing autographs in jail with “It’s hammer time.” His trial is in March 2014.
You can find a ton more details about the case in this Daily Mail article, including this exchange between Hadley and his friend online that will make you shiver about the current state of the American teenager:
Matt Nobile: did u do it
Tyler Hadley: no but im gonna
Matt Nobile: bet?
Matt Nobile: u really should now
Matt Nobile: do it
Tyler Hadley: dont worry i am
Tyler Hadley: then im having a party
Matt Nobile: yeah party time n****!
There’s some more detail here, and this article from last summer indicates that Hadley thinks he’ll get out. (Apparently he is being tried in such a way that he can get life in prison, but cannot get the death penalty.)
One interesting, and seemingly out of place, nugget around this story is Port St. Lucie’s response to the Rolling Stone article. They seemed to be upset that the town was portrayed as a place where there’s nothing for teenagers to do, suggesting in some way that an explanation might be found in suburban boredom. The spokeswoman for the city even said in her response:
“It’s definitely came up in the past that there’s not a lot for kids – teenagers especially – to do in Port St. Lucie,” said Grow. But crime rates are down and there are constructive things for young people to do, she said.
That sequence to me is ludicrous. A kid killed his parents with a claw hammer, supposedly while on ecstasy, then threw a body with the bodies in the back bedroom. He’s a messed-up person. It has nothing to do with suburban malaise. Marijuana is something you can directly tie to suburban malaise often, and by and large that doesn’t hurt people. I’m not sure this is the same type of case.
If you want to go deeper here — and have good eyesight — you can read letters to and from Hadley in jail via this tweet:
The trial is supposed to start on March 10; Hadley is going to file an insanity plea. His lawyer is public defender Diamond R. Litty and purportedly, she plans to use two doctors — Kathleen Heide and Wade Myers — to prove the insanity. It looks like chief assistant state attorney Tom Bakkedahl will lead the prosecution team. The country budgeted four weeks for the trial; let’s hope it’s over in about half that, and it becomes a ‘throw away the key’ situation. This is worse than Valessa Robinson. He shouldn’t be allowed to get out, especially if the way he’s contextualizing himself in prison is accurate.
This case bears some similarity to the Eric and Pam Ellender case from 1991, which you can read about here and here. (It seems they wiped all Unsolved Mysteries episodes from YouTube, which is a real shame.) The main suspect in that case, Chris Prudhomme (not the son of the deceased), hanged himself in jail.
It’s entirely possible, by the way, that the “friend” in this video is also one of the people calling 911 to report Hadley between the end of the party and his arrest around 4:30am (read another way, his friend got totally freaked out, as one would, and flipped on him):
I’ve written about crime a couple of times on this blog (here and here) but this is one of the worst things I’ve ever read around about. I just hope it comes to a swift, even-remotely-logical conclusion once the trial commences.