Tyler Hadley case: Attorneys preparing for March murder trial to meet with judge
Melissa E. Holsman, Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers
6:56 AM, Jan 8, 2014
12:38 PM, Jan 27, 2014
FORT PIERCE, Fla. - Attorneys preparing for the Tyler Hadley murder trial in March met briefly Wednesday with a judge to assure both sides will be ready to seat a jury to decide if the Port St. Lucie 20-year-old is guilty of beating his parents to death with a claw hammer in 2011.
Hadley was in court for the proceedings.
The prosecution and defense discussed jury questionnaires.
Jury selection is set for March 10. Another hearing will take place March 5.
Police say Hadley was 17 on July 16, 2011 when he killed his mother and father inside their Northeast Granduer Avenue home, then concealed their bodies as he hosted a booze-and-drug-fueled party that attracted dozens of teenagers who learned of the bash via Facebook.
Hadley, who has pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, has been held at the St. Lucie County Jail since his arrest.
Hadley's attorneys are expected to rely upon an insanity defense during his trial. In court papers, his lawyers have said that at the time of the incident, Hadley "was laboring under a mental disease, infirmity or defect, to wit: depression."
Hadley also claimed he was "involuntarily intoxicated" at the time of the murders.
His 54-year-old father Blake, and his 47-year-old mother Mary Joe Hadley, were found buried under debris in a master bedroom after police were alerted by a friend of Hadley's who had attended the unruly late-night party and later phoned Crime Stoppers to report the murders.
The case has generated national publicity and last month Port St. Lucie was back in the spotlight after Rolling Stone magazine published a lengthy article on Hadley and the murders, which some believe left the city stinging from unfair criticism by the author Nathaniel Rich.
For Hadley's trial, which could last three weeks, up to 200 potential jurors are expected to be summoned for the case to seat a panel of 12 jurors plus two alternates.
If convicted, Hadley faces a maximum punishment of life in prison.
NewsChannel 5's Nicole Hogensen contributed to this report.