Emotional day at Hadley sentencing hearing

Hadley grandmother testifies for defense

There was tearful testimony Wednesday from family members as the defense began presenting its case in the Tyler Hadley sentencing hearing.  

 

Maggie DiVittorio says her grandson was battling the odds from the beginning.  She said Tyler Hadley was born premature...a 3 pound 10 ounce bag of bones at birth.

 

The 87-year-old nurse, who just retired last month, said Tyler was a loving child.

 

"Never left us without giving us a hug and giving us and 'I love you' and 'I love you grand pap, I love you grandma,' " said DiVittorio.

 

But DiVittorio said Tyler had self-esteem issues and that he told her he was always a step below everyone else.  She knew Tyler was on anti-depressants at age 10.

 

"He wanted to have friends, he wanted to have friends and I think he always thought he never had a friend," added DiVittorio.

 

Tyler Hadley wiped his eyes twice during his grandmother's testimony where she talked about the number of medications he was on, and about the times she comforted him.

 

DiVittorio broke down at the end of her testimony recalling the last time she saw her daughter and son-in-law alive.  It was the night before the murders and the family shared a dinner out.

 

Earlier in the day, the first defense witness Dr. Randy Otto, a forensic psychologist, testified that the study of adolescence only dates back about a century.

 

"It's a tough job to look at someone as a teenager and make a judgment as to how they're going to be significantly further out," said Dr. Otto.

 

Under cross examination, Dr. Otto said his personal opinion is that it should be a rare case where a juvenile is sentenced to life without parole. 

 

Dr. Otto also said there was no "bright line" psychologically between adults and juveniles.

 

Before court ended for the day, one of Tyler Hadley's cousins says Tyler realizes the toll this case has taken on two families.

 

One of the best friends of Mary Jo Hadley said Mary Jo was not concerned for her safety but more concerned that Tyler would commit suicide.

 

In its opening statement, the defense said they will answer "why" Tyler Hadley killed his parents and prove that he is distinguishable from an adult who would have committed the murders of his parents.

 

They're hoping that Hadley, who pleaded no contest to the crimes, will one day be eligible for parole.

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