Tyler Hadley pleads no contest Wednesday; Sentencing will occur March 10

Tyler Hadley, the Port St. Lucie teen accused of murdering his parents with a hammer, then throwing a party with their bodies still inside the home, entered a plea of no contest in court Wednesday.

Hadley is now 20.

In July of 2011, he was 17 when he was accused of killing his parents Blake and Mary Jo in their Port St. Lucie home.

"Mr. Hadley is here before the court to take responsibility for his action," Public Defender Diamond Litty said.

Litty and Asst. State Attorney Tom Bakkedahl squared off over sentencing guidelines during the proceedings. 

Bakkedahl says the state will ask for two consecutive life sentences, meaning Hadley would not be eligible for parole until he was 67 at the earliest.

The judge asked Hadley if he had read the plea agreement. He said, "Yes sir." He also said he discussed it with his attorneys and signed the form. 

During the hour-long session, both Judge Robert Makemson and the prosecution continually reminded Hadley what this change of plea meant.

"That he was waving all of his rights, the access to a jury trial, to challenge my evidence," Bakkedahl said.

After the hearing, Hadley's attorney Diamond Litty said the decision today was all Tyler's. "Our client was very emotional, this was very difficult.  It was a very difficult day for everyone."

No one from either side of the Hadley family would talk after the hearing.  Tyler's grandmother, who visited him in jail more than anyone else, could be heard sobbing when prosecutors talked about the details they would present at  the sentencing hearing scheduled for March 10.  It could last into a second week.

After Wednesday's court hearing, Tyler Hadley's uncle, Michael Hadley, spoke exclusively with TCPalm.com about the upcoming sentencing phase. To see Mr. Hadley's exchange with TCPalm.com, click here.

Hadley initially was going to plead not guilty by reason of insanity.  

It will be up to the judge to determine his ultimate sentence.

WPTV's Dan Corcoran contributed to this story.

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