The parents of 17-year-old Tyler Hadley would never allow their son to have a party in their Port St. Lucie home, especially after his missed school attendance and months of erratic behaviour. What Tyler’s parents didn’t know was that their son was determined to have his party, whether they approved. On July 16, 2011, the troubled teen invited his Facebook friends over for his party. None of the party-goers away that in the home’s master bedroom laid the corpses of Blake and Mary-Jo Hadley.
The Hadley home at 371 Northeast Granduer was spacious enough for the family of four. Port St. Lucie boasts quiet neighborhoods, middle-class families, and low crime rates. The locals are proud that Port St. Lucie ranks one of the “safest in Florida” and most would hope to keep it that way.
Tyler Hadley’s invitation to his party was shared among his Facebook friends and mutual acquaintances. The party would officially kick off in the evening, and people were expecting an exceptional party. Tyler didn’t want to let down his friends. He knew that if his party was going to be the talk of the town, he would have to get rid of his domineering parents. They surely wouldn’t let him have his party. He needed to kill them both and hide their bodies.
At first, police were dispatched to 371 Northeast Granduer Street from a noise complaint. Underaged teenagers overran the Hadley’s home, many in the driveway drinking, yelling, and playing loud music. Tyler Hadley didn’t care about the noise, or that his home was completely wrecked. At the time he was upstairs in his room smoking marijuana and taking Percocet, a popular painkiller, with his closest friends.
It was only after a neighbor issued a noise complaint that dispatchers learned there may be one or two dead bodies in the home as well. The party was over when the squad cars pulled in, but the night had just begun for them.
When law enforcement officers entered the Hadley residence, they noticed that what once been a beautiful and quiet home was now nearly destroyed. They toppled furniture over, there were large holes in the walls, trash strewn the floor, and after looking closer they found bloodstains from the kitchen, the garage, to the master bedroom.
How could partygoers not see the bloodstains?
Many did, but they could of never guessed their true substance without the knowledge of the prior murders. In fact, one teen at the party clearly remembers when the beer pong ball bounced off the table and into a “nasty brownish liquid”. Now knowing what it was, or perhaps not caring, the teen dunked the ball back in his red solo cup and kept playing the game.
Police eventually opened the Hadley’s master bedroom and the two corpses hidden under the pile of family photos, clothes, books, and anything else Tyler could use to conceal his grisly deeds.
Blake Hadley was a large and intimidating man over six feet tall and tipping scales over three hundred pounds. Despite his towering frame, however, the father had been “savagely beaten”, according to the medical examiner.
There were multiple blunt trauma injuries present on his body. His nose was broken at the base, and he had suffered multiple abrasions and contusions to his face. Tyler had smashed his skull in several spots, and these fractures were visible through his skin. His right temporal lobe (the part of the brain that controls hearing) had multiple lacerations and the brain itself was floating in blood, swelled up from the repeated hammer strikes to the skull.
Blake’s legs were also broken, and each fibula shattered in pieces. The medical examiner counted at least 65 blunt trauma injuries including “massive skull fractures.”
Mary-Jo Hadley’s autopsy was equally horrific. Her son hit her with so much force in the back of the head that her spine fractured, “possibly from her back hyper-extending during the attack.” Mary-Jo suffered from 7 broken ribs which punctured her left lung, extensive injuries visible to her brain via the claw end of the hammer, 14 wounds across her back, and lacerations of all sizes on her face and neck.
Perhaps even more shocking than that was the terminology the medical examiner used to describe Mary-Jo’s skull. “Pulverized”. The top of the head was cut so badly that the skull was clearly visible, or what was left of the skull, as according to the examiner Mary-Jo’s skull was “smashed like an egg.”
Most of Tyler’s friends would claim that his 17-year-old finally snapped after years of being punched and beaten by his father. Or at least this is what Tyler Hadley for years would tell anyone who would listen. His mother was domineering and his father was strict, an alcoholic, and occasionally takes out his anger issues on the youngest son, Tyler would claim. However, these accusations about his parents were false and according to Tyler’s older brother, their parents were too loving and pushover parents gave in to Tyler’s every want and need.
Sure Blake Hadley was an intimidating and imposing man, but he also seemed like a “giant teddy bear”, recalled Miles Petkaitis, a co-worker at the Port St. Lucie Power Plant. Another co-worker said he never “saw him get angry at anyone or anything”. Michael, who was Tyler’s best friend, looked to Blake Hadley as his own father figure saying that he was one of the nicest people he’s ever met.
And Tyler Hadley’s mother, Mary-Jo, was also a great soul and loving parent. How could she be anything but nice as an elementary school teach for the last 24 years? A fellow friend and faculty member Chelsea Wells claimed that Mary-Jo, “had that mom instinct. She was a great mom. She was a great teacher.”
So why would Tyler say these blatant lies about his own parents? To understand why, we need to look into his childhood a bit.
Tyler was born prematurely and had to stay in the hospital for 3 weeks before he could go home to his family, and although Mary-Jo was with him at the hospital, Tyler may have missed some of the mother nurturing so important of newborns.
Growing up, Tyler was prone to illnesses and he would often get sick (or chicken pox) when his older brother would not. This may have been a symptom of his hormone imbalance and his diagnosis of hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid glandular condition). This condition may have also contributed to Tyler’s increasing low self-esteem issues and constant self degradation; Tyler would constantly refer to himself as stupid, dumb, and/or fat, even at an early age.
*Patients with thyroid disorders can struggle with weight gain, which was in Tyler’s case, and although the boy wasn’t overweight, he still developed bulimia, a serious eating disorder involving purging food.
As a child he would constantly take medications ranging from Accutane, a controversial acne medication, Levoxyl, a hypothyroid balancer, SSRI’s, for mood disorders such as anxiety and depression, and even HGH, human growth hormone, an extremely controversial treatment - think bodybuilder and baseball player drug scandals.
Combine these complications and medications with Tyler Hadley’s early obsession with death and constant suicidal ideation, which his family tried, in vain, to help him push through his emotional problems.
A premature birth, body disorders, mood disorders, an obsession with death, daily cocktails of prescribed medications, an eating disorder, and his own experimentations with illegal substances such as ecstasy and marijuana, and from all of these things brings a troubled teenager. Of course, Tyler’s childhood is no excuse for the heinous murders of his own parents, but it explains how he may have had a propensity to act out.
“It’s Hammer Time” - Tyler Hadley
Tyler Hadley is serving two life sentences for the murders of his parents Blake and Mary-Jo Hadley. Since this shocking crime made international headlines, Tyler, for a while at least, was the most popular convict in his prison. There have been inmates who have reported that Tyler has not only bragged about killing his parents, but has also signed autographs, some with catchy quotes such as “I don’t know if you’re a fan [sic], but you should be. it’s hammer time. - Tyler Hadley.”
No one knows if Tyler has any remorse for his crimes today, even though he claims to found religion and according to his own words, “I regret what I did but I have found God. I’m sorry,” but we know that he will remain in prison for the rest of his natural life.