PORT ST. LUCIE, FL (WFLX) - 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.
The case no longer goes to trial, but much more heartache for family and friends could come at sentencing.
We could see and hear much of the same testimony we would get in a trial. Many close to the case are now preparing for this painful process.
Tyler Hadley pleading 'no contest' to the first-degree murders of his parents. With that plea, he's spared from standing trial. Hadley's sentencing, however, is just a few weeks away, and that won't be easy for anyone.
"So if you are entering this change of plea to keep your family members from going through that, that's not going to happen," said Judge Robert Makemson, 19th Judicial Circuit, to Hadley.
Of those who could potentially be called to testify is Tyler Hadley's best friend. "That was the closest person I've ever had to me," Michael Mandell told Fox 29 five months after the 2011 murder. "I think about it every day. I don't stop thinking about it."
Mandell's lawyer discussed the emotional and psychological wounds that could be ripped open again at sentencing with Fox 29 as Hadley's family wiped away tears in court. "It's not going to spare them because they will want to be there to see what happens."
Lawyers on both sides will be calling people to the stand. Therefore, avoiding a trial does not mean avoiding the pain of what unfolded inside that Port St. Lucie home. "They're not going to be alleviated of hearing the gory details and all the sad details of this case," said one lawyer.
Prosecutors will ask for two consecutive life sentences meaning Hadley wouldn't be eligible for parole until he is 67 years old.
Hadley's double first-degree murder trial would have started on March 10. Instead, his sentencing hearings will begin on that very same date. It could last into a second week.