The case of

Mary-Jo and Blake Hadley

tyler_hadley
Victim

Mary-Jo and Blake Hadley

Victim Race

Caucasian

Victim Date of Birth

Oct 4th. 1963 & Jan 11th. 1957

Victim Age
Date Reported

2011-07-17

Date of Death

2011-07-16

Case Status

Closed

Incident Location

Port St Lucie, Florida, US

Body Location

Port St Lucie, Florida, US

Date of Conviction

October, 2015

Body Discovered Date

2011-07-17

Murderer

After beating both of his parents to death with a claw hammer, Tyler Hadley decided to throw a killer party to celebrate..

Who were Mary-Jo and Blake Hadley?

Mary-Jo and Blake Hadley had been married for 25 years at the time of their deaths. They lived in Port St. Lucie, Florida, on a street called “Granduer” and they had moved to this area in 1987. The couple had two sons, Ryan Hadley, who was 23 and had recently moved to North Carolina for college and 17-year-old Tyler Hadley who was a student at St Lucie High School.

Mary-Jo was an elementary school teacher and she was well-respected and loved within her community. One of her previous students, and a friend of Tyler’s, had said of Mary-Jo:

“No matter who you were, even if she didn’t like you, she would never give up on you.”

Blake was a Watch Engineer at the St Lucie Power Plant and he had been doing this job for 30 years, he was good at it and he enjoyed it too.

Six years after their first son Ryan was born, the Hadley’s were expecting their second child. Tyler was born on December 16th 1993 but he was premature and only weighed three pounds and 10 ounces. He had to stay in an incubator for a month after his birth and this caused his mom to feel very protective of her son.

For the first 10 years of his life, Mary-Jo and Blake had no worries about Tyler but this soon changed. Around age 12, he started to become a troublemaker and he was taking heavy drugs, such as hallucinogens and ecstacy, by the time he was 16. Unfortunately, it’s believed that this contributed to the tragic events that took place on July 16th 2011.

Victim was found dead/start of the crime

Police were called to the Hadley house in the early hours of July 17th 2011. Tyler looked spaced out, it was obvious that he was on some type of drug and this raised suspicion amongst the officers. Upon entering the home, they noticed how messy it was but they knew that a house party had taken place the night before. However, they also started noticing brown stains on the floor and walls and when they saw what appeared to be dried blood on the door of the master bedroom and heard Tyler warn them not to go in there, they forced entry and were confronted with a scene from a horror movie.

In the middle of the room was a double bed. But piled on top of the bed were items of furniture from all over the house such as dining chairs, coffee tables, bedding and mirrors.There was also a large amount of blood covering the floor, along with blood soaked towels and bed sheets.

Officers looked closer and they saw a pale white leg sticking out from underneath the pile. This was the leg of Blake Hadley, Tyler’s father. After investigating further and removing some of the furniture items, they also came across the body of Mary-Jo Hadley.

The Crime Description

At 1.15pm on July 16th 2011, Tyler Hadley posted a status to his Facebook page which said “party at my crib…maybe.”

A lot of his friends didn’t think this huge party was going to happen. His mom and dad were quite strict with Tyler, given his troublemaker behavior and drug and alcohol abuse so the likelihood of them allowing his to throw a house party for friends was slim to none.

However, at 8.15pm that same day, Tyler posted another status to his Facebook page which read “party at my house hmu.” When friends asked if his parents were going to come home, Tyler just replied with “they won’t, trust me.”

So, what happened in those seven hours?

The first thing that Tyler did was take away his parent’s phones. He figured that they wouldn’t be able to call for help if they didn’t have them. Then he took three ecstasy pills, he needed that high in order to follow through with his murderous plan.

At around 5pm, he took a claw hammer that he found in the garage and stood behind his mom, Mary-Jo Hadley, who was working at the family computer in the lounge. Tyler stayed there for around five minutes, trying to summon up the courage to bring the hammer down onto his mom’s head. He eventually did, swinging it hard into the back of her skull.

Mary-Jo’s last word to her son was “Why?”

Tyler brought the hammer down onto his mom a total of 36 times.

During this frenzied attack, Tyler’s dad heard the noise and came rushing into the lounge to see why his wife was screaming. When he saw what was going on, he also asked Tyler “Why?” and Tyler’s response was “Why the fuck not?”

By this time, Tyler had killed his mom and he turned his attention onto his dad. Like Mary-Jo, Tyler beat his father to death with a claw hammer but he was struck 39 times.

Both Mary-Jo and Blake Hadley were alive during every single blow that Tyler delivered to them and they died shortly after the final blow was delivered.

Once Tyler had finished his rage-filled attack on his parents, he went and got some towels and covered both of their heads with them. He then drags their bodies, one by one, into the master bedroom and lays them on the floor, side by side. Once they’re in position, Tyler places the claw hammer between them and then he takes almost every piece of furniture he can find; bedding, towels, dining chairs, coffee tables and even papers and piles them on top of the bodies so they’re not visible to anyone who entered that room.

Next, Tyler had to deal with the bloody mess that was left at the scene of the murders and throughout the house. He tried his best to clean it up but it took him three hours to clean up most of the blood and gore that had been left behind but he didn’t do a very good job. Tyler used a mixture of towels, bedding, a sponge mop, Clorox wipes and some coffee grounds to soak up the worst of the mess and when he was done, he threw these items on top of the pile of furniture his parents were buried under.

Tyler then took a shower. Once he was out, he stood in front of a mirror and started hysterically laughing for around five minutes.

By this time, it was around 8.15pm and Tyler posted that Facebook status, inviting everyone he knew to a house party.

Around 60 people ended up at Tyler’s house that night, some of them he knew, but a lot of them he didn’t. When people questioned him about the whereabouts of his parents, his story would change depending on who was asking. He told some people that they were in Georgia, others that they were in Orlando and he even told people that his parents didn’t live there at all, that the house they were in was actually Tyler’s house.

No one at the party knew that Tyler’s parents were lying dead in the master bedroom.

The attendees to that house party trashed the house. They were urinating on neighbor’s lawns, putting cigarettes out on rugs, eating all of the food they could find and smashing bottles on the floor. Tyler wasn’t concerned about any of the mess that people were making, the only thing he was concerned about was the noise level. He didn’t want the police to be called because he knew what was really inside that house.

Even though all of the kids there were drunk or high, if they’d looked hard enough, they’d have been able to tell that something had happened in that house that day. Across the floors and carpets, brown streaks led from the lounge to the master bedroom and dried blood could be seen on the walls and door outside of his parent’s room. However, it was the area around the computer desk where it was obvious. Puddles of a tacky, brown substance were dotted around and it was even between the keys on the keyboard.

It was around this computer that games of beer pong were being played. The ball would often bounce off the table and land in the tacky puddles but the kids would either wipe it on their shirts or run it under the tap.

At around 1am, Tyler had had enough of keeping his secret to himself and decided to confide in his childhood friend, Michael Mandell. The two had known each other since they were eight. Tyler asked Michael to follow him outside and he said to Michael,

“I killed my parents.”

Michael didn’t believe him at first, this wasn’t the first time that Tyler had expressed wanting to hurt his parents. But Tyler told him to look at the driveway. Michael saw a red Ford Expedition and a black Toyota Tacoma truck, both of which he knew belonged to Tyler’s parents. If they were out of town, why were their cars in the driveway?

Next, Tyler took Michael to the garage and told him to look inside. Once Michael saw a bloody shoeprint on the floor, he retreated and started to believe his friend. After this, Tyler led him to the master bedroom where Michael noticed the dried blood on the floor and the walls. Tyler opened the door and Michael looked in. The first thing he saw was a pile of furniture and bloody towels until he looked a little closer. A white leg stuck out from the pile. It was at this moment that Michael knew Tyler was telling the truth.

Michael didn’t leave the party straight away. He knew that Tyler was a double murderer but this was still someone that he’d known since he was eight and he knew that this was probably going to be the last time he saw him. He stayed at Tyler’s for another hour and he even took a selfie with his friend before he went home, called the police and told him everything he knew.

Suspect or Convicted Killer Details

As mentioned above, Tyler was born premature and this made his mom treat Tyler differently to his brother. Not noticeably so but Tyler was very close with his mom, he relied on her heavily, and she enjoyed that her boy needed her as much as he did. It wasn’t just his mom that Tyler was close to, he was also incredibly close with his dad when he was a child. Blake would often work late shifts at the power plant and it’s said that Tyler would wait up for his dad to get home, just so he knew that his dad was safe.

Tyler was an anxious child. He had an anxiety attack almost every day and he also felt guilt very easily. There was one instance where he was having an argument with his mom and in the heat of the moment, he told her to shut up. Immediately after those words had left his mouth, Tyler burst into tears because he felt so guilty about what he had just said.

Between the ages of eight and ten, Mary-Jo started to notice a shift in Tyler’s behavior. He was starting to show signs of mild depression and his personality was starting to change. His mom recognized the symptoms as mild depression was something that she’d suffered with for most of her life and she didn’t want Tyler to suffer as she had. So she took him to their family doctor to see if there was anything that could be done to help him. Controversially, Tyler was prescribed anti-depressants at the age of around 10.

As well as mild depression, Tyler was also experiencing acne from a young age. He was very self conscious and this only made matters worse. Tyler was described as “chubby” by family members and this led to low self esteem and even bulimia. Because of his acne, Tyler was on Accutane for that as well as a growth hormone because of a thyroid condition he had.

It’s thought that this cocktail of drugs contributed to the change in Tyler’s behavior from the age of 10 up to the murders being commited. He started to become a troublemaker at the age of 12. He would graffiti around the local town, paint the sides of his neighbors cars and he’d also be disruptive in school. One of his former classmates said that there was one instance where Tyler started mooing like a cow in the middle of a lesson.

Tyler started arguing with his parents regularly and this wasn’t something that he had done before. After one of these arguments, Tyler turned up at his friend’s house and expressed that he’d thought about murdering his parents. His friend laughed this off and thought it was said in anger but this was just the first example of Tyler having these thoughts. He said this many times over the years. Tyler Hadley also said to a friend that he was thinking about murdering his parents and then throwing a house party afterwards because “no one has ever done that before.”

At the age of 12, Tyler Hadley began self-medicating with alcohol. When he was 15, he turned to marijuana and at 16, he was taking pills, such as Xanax, as well as hallucinogens, such as ecstasy pills. His parents worried about his drug taking so they took him to a psychiatrist as well as enrolled him into a substance abuse program.

In the April before the murders, Mary-Jo and Blake had had enough of their son when he was arrested for aggravated battery and, because he had a juvenile record for burglary, he had to spend a week in jail. Mary-Jo confiscated Tyler Hadley’s phone when he got out and this filled Tyler with rage. But the final straw came when Tyler drove home drunk one night and as a punishment, Mary-Jo took his car and phone away.

This is the point Tyler decided to go through with his plan.

Investigation Details

After Michael Mandall left Tyler Hadley’s house, he phoned the police and told them everything he knew. At 4.32am, two law enforcement officers from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to Tyler’s house. As they approached the house, they heard someone talking inside and they peered inside the front window. They saw Tyler pacing back and forth, picking up piled of books from the living room and placing them in the back bedroom, all while talking to himself. The officers rang the doorbell but Tyler didn’t answer. The lights went off in the house and then Tyler answered the door.

He had one hand behind his back so the officers ordered him to put up both of his hands and then they handcuffed him on the ground. They asked Tyler if there were any adults inside to which Tyler said no. As the officers entered the house, Tyler Hadley shouted,

“You can’t go in there. Don’t go in there!”

It was obvious that a party had taken place but when officers saw the dried blood outside the master bedroom, they knew something more serious had happened. They tried the door but it was locked. Police forced entry and discovered the bodies of Mary-Jo and Blake Hadley, hidden under the pile of furniture.

Police immediately arrested Tyler Hadley and charged him with two counts of first-degree murder.

Trial

Following his arrest, Tyler Hadley pleaded guilty to the two counts of first-degree murder and the case did not go to trial.

Verdict

On the 20th March 2014, a sentencing hearing took place and Tyler was given a life sentence without the possibility of parole. He didn’t get the death penalty because he was 17 when he committed the murders.

However, in 2018, Tyler appealed his sentence at the District Court of Appeal and it was changed to life in prison with the possibility of parole. Tyler Hadley must serve at least 25 years before he’s eligible for a review.

Frequently asked questions

What was Tyler Hadley diagnosed with?

As a child, Tyler was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. He also displayed signs of bulimia. However, after his arrest, Tyler lied to mental health experts and exaggerated his illnesses to try and get a reduced sentence. This didn’t work.

Who is Ryan Hadley?

Ryan Hadley is Tyler Hadley’s older brother. Ryan is six years older than Tyler and Ryan was away at college in North Carolina when the murders happened.