PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Tyler Hadley signs autographs "It's hammer time" and is known as "Hambo" at the St. Lucie County Jail, where he is awaiting trial for allegedly bludgeoning his parents to death with a hammer, according to a jailhouse interview released Tuesday.
Hadley is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the July 16 deaths of Mary Jo Hadley, 47, and Blake Hadley, 54, at the family home in the 300 block of Northeast Granduer Avenue in Port St. Lucie.
Following the homicide, according to arrest reports, Hadley threw a party at the home, with invitations sent out via Facebook.
Hadley, who was 17 at the time of homicides, is 18 now.
In a Feb. 21 interview by Detective Kristin Meyer of the Port St. Lucie Police Department, Justin Toney, an jail inmate at the time, said he asked Hadley for an autograph "'cause I figured it (would) be worth something online, you know. ... I figured they'd write a book (about Hadley), or something, so anyway yeah, he signed it and all."
Meyer: How did he sign it?
Toney: Ah, the first one he was like, the first one he said, he signed was, um, "I don't know if you're a fan, but you should be. It's hammer time." And he put, "Tyler Hadley."
"It's Hammer Time," was the catch phrase of the 1990s rapper MC Hammer from his hit song "U Can't Touch This."
Toney said Hadley signed other pieces of paper, including newspaper stories about the homicides, with "I know I shocked the world" and "I found God. I regret what I did."
The signed pieces of paper were not included in the 334 pages of evidence released Tuesday by the State Attorney's Office. Once evidence is shared with the Public Defender's Office, which represents Hadley, it becomes public record.
Toney was arrested Aug. 17 for allegedly beating up and robbing a man outside a St. Lucie County bar. According to records on the St. Lucie County Clerk of Court website, he pleaded no contest to a charge of robbery by sudden snatching and was sentenced to 11 months in jail with credit for 190 days he'd already spent behind bars.
Jail records show he was released March 22. The interview was conducted Feb. 21, the day of Toney's sentencing.
Toney said he "kept picking his (Hadley's) brain, and I kept asking him, you know, why?"
Hadley first blamed the medication he was taking, Toney said, "And so then like, I was like, 'Dude, I'm not (expletive) buying it."
Hadley later said he killed his parents because he knew they wouldn't let him have a party at the family home, but admitted he never asked for permission.
Meyer: All this just to have a party?
Toney: That's what he said.
Finally, Toney said, Hadley blamed "the devil."
Toney: He's like, "You really want to know what it was?" He's like, "I don't think it was the medication." He's like, "It was the devil, because the devil is drugs and money." That's, that was his exact words. "The devil is drugs and money."
Toney said Hadley talked about getting out of prison time by pleading not guilty by reason of insanity.
"I don't know if he's, ah, cuckoo for real," Toney said. "I mean, he's a, he's a little weird for sure, but he's definitely not insane. He knows, he knew what he was (expletive) doing."
Meyer: How do you know that?
Toney: I can tell by the way he talks and the way he expresses himself, and it wasn't because he's crazy. It's not he, he's trying to get an insanity plea; I'm pretty sure, you know. ... No, hell no, he's not insane. Not even. Not even close. Not even close. ... There's definitely something wrong with him, but he's not crazy. He might be a little lost, of course he's gotta be lost."Toney said Hadley had planned to kill himself after the party — "He said he was gonna asphyxiate himself in his garage in a vehicle" — but a friend stopped him.
Hadley reportedly told Toney much the same version of the crime he told Michael Mandell, Hadley's best friend and the prosecution's key witness: That he struck his mother with the hammer first as she sat at a computer, then turned the weapon on his father when Blake Hadley entered the room.
Toney said he asked Hadley if his father tried to stop him.
Toney: He's like, "No, that's how I knew they really loved me." And I was just like dumbfounded, you know. "If you found out right then that they really loved you, why would you continue?" And he's like, "Well, I had to finish the job. I already hit 'em, so I, I just figured I had to finish the job."
In a transcript of a visit by his brother, 23-year-old Ryan Hadley, Tyler Hadley expressed surprise at the support he'd been receiving from family members.
Ryan Hadley: Nobody supports what you did whatsoever, though. That (expletive) is never gonna change. (I have) no idea how you could even do that, just (expletive) up, but
I don't know.
Tyler Hadley: Just, just tell everyone I love 'em and that I said hi.
Ryan Hadley: I will.
The date of the visit isn't noted, but it apparently was soon after the homicides. Ryan Hadley said that as the new head of the household "I got to deal with all this stuff: the house, with the cars, I have to get all this (expletive), all these problems ..."
Tyler Hadley: It's uh, I'd rather have your problems now.
Toney said Hadley first was nicknamed "Ham" by fellow inmates, but he didn't like it. He also bristled at the nickname "Hammer."
Toney: I kept doing it anyway; but I was like, "All right, Dude, I'll switch it up to 'Hambo.'" And like some people call him "Bam Bam," "Hambo." ... He doesn't take offense to it, no."