The crime shocked the nation. Seventeen-year-old Tyler Hadley bludgeoned his parents to death with a hammer, then threw a party as they lay sprawled out in the house.
Mary-Jo Hadley was a beloved elementary school teacher in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Her husband, Blake, was an engineer. At six-foot-four, he was known as a gentle giant.
Blake's family is still reeling from the savagery of the murders. INSIDE EDITION gathered his dad, Maurice, and mom, Betty, his sister, Linda and brother, Mike, sister-in-law, Cindy, niece, Tracy, and her husband, Dave. They say they had no idea that Tyler was a troubled young man who was slipping out of control.
"They were, what I would say, perfect parents," said Mike. "Blake was my best friend. We would talk about things. But the discussion about his kids would never come up. If he would have just said something, let us know something, maybe we could have reached out and helped in some way."
The day he snapped, Tyler had been grounded and was particularly furious at his mom, texting a friend: "She's a (blank) fa sho I might kill her!"
HLN's Nancy Grace has been following the case, and told INSIDE EDITION, "He argued with them about having a party. They said, 'no.' He wanted to have a party. So, what did he do? He killed them, brutally."
On Facebook, he told friends: "Party at my crib tonight."
"Your parents ain't home?" asked a buddy.
"Nope," he replied.
Later, there was this chilling exchange:
"What if your parents come home?" asked a friend.
"They won't," he replied. "Trust me."
At about 5 p.m., he retrieved a hammer from the garage. Then, he went to the family room and stood over his mother as she worked on her computer.
Prosecutor Thomas Bakkedahl told INSIDE EDITION, "As she turned to see him, he raised the hammer and struck her with a blow to the top of the head."
Hearing his wife screams, Blake came running from the bedroom. That's when Tyler turned on him.
Bakkedahl explained, "He said, 'Tyler, why are you doing this?' And the defendant's reply was, 'Why the (blank) not?' "
Tyler dragged his parents into their bedroom and piled clothes and furniture on top of them to hide the bodies. Then, he locked the door. His friends started arriving a short time later. It was time to party.
Grace said, "He was playing beer pong, laughing and joking, smoking cigars, everyone having alcohol. This, just a few feet away from Tyler Hadley's dead parents."
But Tyler couldn't keep his brutal crime a secret. He confided to his friend, Michael Mandell, "I killed my parents."
Word got around and horrified partygoers called 911.
Caller: "He told me that he did something to his parents."
911 Operator: "Did he hurt them? Are they still alive?"
Caller: "My understanding of it was that he killed them."
911 Operator: "I'm sorry, he did what to his parents?"
When the police showed up, they found the bodies.
Grace said, "The lack of remorse is mind-boggling. You've got Tyler Hadley behind bars where he should be thinking about his mom and dad. Instead, he's signing autographs with the moniker "Hammer Boy."
This was the little kid who loved to go camping with his dad and big brother, Ryan. The boy who was the ringbearer at his cousin's wedding. His grandpa, Maurice, says they just didn't see it coming.
"I look back, I didn't see anything that would lead me to believe there was a problem," said Maurice.
None of them have visited Tyler in jail. In court, his brother, Ryan called for justice.
"What I want is for him to get the maximum penalty possible, which I understand is life in prison without parole," stated Ryan.
Before his sentencing last Friday, Tyler turned to face his devastated relatives and apologized, saying, "I'd like to direct this to my entire family. All of you. Everyone. All of you. I just want everyone to know that I'm truly sorry for the acts I committed."
Too little, too late. Tyler Hadley was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
Mike said, "I actually felt sorry for him at that point."
Maurice said, "I think we all did."
MIke concluded, "You have to remember, he's still our family, but he committed such a horrific act that he deserves the punishment for it."