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Charged with two counts of second degree murder, Florida teen Tyler Hadley is accused of bludgeoning his parents with a hammer, hiding their bodies, and then inviting his Facebook friends to his home for a late night party.
Though the 17-year-old Port St. Lucie boy was originally going to be charged with first degree murder, prosecutors unexpectedly reduced the charges during a court hearing on Tuesday, but have still decided to proceed against him as an adult.
According to investigators, they received an anonymous tip that caused them to conduct a "welfare check" at about 4:20 am Sunday morning, reports CNN. Tyler Hadley told officers that his parents were out of town, but due to his suspicious behavior, officers searched the home.
They found the beaten bodies of Hadley's parents locked in the home's master bedroom.
A bloody hammer was found between them.
Investigators allege that Hadley posted a party invitation on Facebook Saturday afternoon, and, according to CNN, at some point before the party, took a hammer to his parents, locking the bodies in the bedroom.
Local police told WSVN-TV that Tyler Hadley had made no incriminating statements, and therefore they have no idea why he may have killed his parents.
This actually may be why prosecutors reduced the charges from first-degree to second-degree murder.
First degree murder is a capital offense and requires proof of premeditation, whereas second degree murder is a crime of passion.
It's much easier to convict a person if there is no need to prove that they planned a killing. Moreover, as we learned in the Casey Anthony trial, when death is on the table, juries are more hesitant to convict without a smoking gun.
Even with this glut of evidence and easier-to-convict charges, Tyler Hadley may not face jail. Of course, his actions could also turn out to be legally insane.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.