Erin Caffey was fifteen years old when she planned the murders of her father, mother and two brothers. In the end her father would be the only one to survive. Erin Caffey was sentenced to life in prison
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On March 1, 2008, most of the deeply religious Caffey family, of Emory, Texas, was slaughtered in the dead of night with .22 caliber bullets and swords before their humble, cabin-style home was burned to the ground.
The patriarch, Terry Caffey, lived to tell what he heard that night, and the perpetrators shocked even seasoned investigators, according to “Killer Couples” on Oxygen.
The Caffeys — Terry and his wife, Penny, their two young sons, Tyler and Matthew, and 16-year-old Erin — lived to serve in their church. All of them played instruments, and Erin used to sing so passionately during services that she would sometimes break down in tears, according to Texas Monthly.
The kids were homeschooled, Terry was training to be a minister, and a Bible verse was etched into a wooden sign hanging above their driveway. However, in fall 2008, Erin found something that began to draw her interest away from godly things: She fell in love with 18-year-old Charlie Wilkinson
Wilkinson was a somewhat rough-and-tumble, outdoors type, and when he first ran into Erin Caffey at her part-time job serving at Sonic, roller skates and all, sparks flew. In December that year, Erin asked her parents to return to public school and, after they agreed, she and Wilkinson became inseparable, according to Texas Monthly.
Wilkinson gave her a promise ring that belonged to his grandmother and told his friends they would marry, according to “Killer Couples.” Terry and Penny were fine with the relationship until Erin’s grades started to slip and they took a closer look at Wilkinson, not liking what they found on his Myspace page. Then, Erin Caffey broke her “phone curfew” and in February 2008, they put their foot down and told Erin that she needed to break up with Wilkinson.
Erin’s parents believed she appeared to have accepted their decision. Wilkinson, however, was openly heartbroken and angry, according to “Killer Couples.” And friends of Erin told Texas Monthly that the same month, Erin started talking about killing her parents. It was the only way they could be together, she seemed to believe.
Although accounts still differ on who was the mastermind — Terry refuses to believe it was his daughter’s idea — a hideous plot was soon hatched.
Sometime late in the night of Feb. 28, 2008, or early on March 1, Wilkinson and his friend, 22-year-old Charles Waid, stormed into the Caffey home while Erin and Waid’s girlfriend, Bobbi Johnson, waited outside in the car.
Wilkinson would later tell investigators that he warned Erin that he would have to kill her younger brothers in order to leave no witnesses.
“I don’t care… just do what you gotta do,” she allegedly said, according to “Killer Couples.”
Inside, Wilkinson fired away with a .22 pistol in Terry and Penny’s room. Terry took five bullets and watched his wife die. When the gun jammed, Waid broke out a samurai-style sword and finished Penny off with it, nearly severing her head, according to Texas Monthly.
The two then went upstairs and murdered young Tyler and Matthew. One was shot in the face and the second was killed with a sword, according to Texas Monthly.
Wilkinson and Waid then ransacked the house for valuables — Wilkinson had allegedly promised Waid $2,000 that was stashed away — and set fire to the place with lighter fluid.
As his home burned around him, Terry awoke and made the unimaginable decision to crawl out a window for help. There was nothing he could do for his family at that point. He made an hour-long crawl to his nearest neighbor’s home to call for help and soon authorities were on their way.
After emergency surgery, Terry was stable enough to talk, and he told sheriff’s deputies that he was certain one of the attackers was Wilkinson. He recognized his voice, according to “Killer Couples.”
When authorities tracked down Wilkinson and brought him in for questioning, they also found Erin in the trailer where he was staying. She appeared to be in shock and claimed she had been kidnapped. Investigators were putting the case together quickly, however. Everyone knew everyone in Emory, so Waid and Johnson were also rounded up almost immediately.
Erin’s story fell apart while she was on her way to see her dad in a hospital in nearby Tyler, along with her grandparents and sheriff’s deputies. They received a call en route that Erin Caffey was now a suspect and cuffed her. Erin broke down in tears and assured her grandparents that she had nothing to do with the slaughter of her family, according to Texas Monthly.
Less than 24 hours after authorities responded, the Caffey home was a smoldering pile and all four suspects were in custody and talking.
Wilkinson told investigators that he had initially encouraged Erin to run away from home, but she told him, “No … I want my mom and dad killed,” according to police interview audio featured on “Killer Couples.”
All four were charged with three counts of capital murder, and prosecutors initially sought the death penalty against Wilkinson and Waid. Terry stepped in, however, still believing in the forgiveness his faith taught him, and asked prosecutors to take the death penalty off the table, according to “Killer Couples.”
All four eventually pleaded guilty. Wilkinson and Waid were given life without the possibility of parole; Johnson got 40 years. Erin was not sentenced to life without parole; she will be eligible after 25 years of her life sentence, according to “Killer Couples.”
Terry maintained a relationship with his daughter for years after the massacre. It wasn’t easy at first — in fact, he contemplated suicide briefly, according to Texas Monthly. However, he still visits Erin in prison in Greenville, according to ABC News.
16 year old Erin Caffey made her first appearance before a Rains County Judge Monday.
Erin Caffey and three co-defendants are all accused of killing her mother Penny Caffey and her brothers Matthew and Tyler Caffey, before setting the family’s house on fire in Emory. Erin Caffey’s father Terry was shot several times in the attack, but survived. Ironically, he was one of those in court asking for Erin to be allowed to come back home.
Before the judge issued a gag order, defense attorneys confirmed that Terry Caffey testified on his daughter’s behalf, asking that she be allowed to go home with him rather than staying in juvenile custody in Hunt County. Erin’s grandmother also testified for her, but neither testimony would sway the judge, who ordered Erin Caffey to continue to be held another 15 business days.
Another issue is still pending in the case – whether she will be tried as an adult. KLTV caught up with both the prosecution and the defense after the hearing.
“She’s facing a certification hearing. It’s not ready to go yet. The psychologist must evaluate her and her probation officer must work on her family report on her,” said William Howard McDowell, Erin’s defense attorney.
“We have received the initial case from the Rains County Sheriff’s Department, however the case is still under investigation there are additional things to be done,” said Rains County Attorney Robert Vititow.
As for the other defendants, they were all indicted Monday morning by a Rains County Grand Jury. Bobbi Gale Johnson, Charles Waid, and Charlie Wilkinson were each indicted for capital murder for the deaths of Penny, Matthew, and Tyler Caffey
One of them also faces a new charge. Wilkinson, Erin’s boyfriend, was also indicted for attempted escape. According to the indictment he dug a hole in the wall of his cell at the Rains County Jail on March 25th.
Rains County has requested the assistance of the Attorney General’s office. They are already there, and Lisa Tanner, who specializes in capital murder cases, is there to help. They will be there for the entirety of all four trials.
Terry Caffey’s daughter Erin Caffey made international headlines when she murdered her mother and two young brothers back in 2008.Severely injured from five gunshots, Mr Caffey was having his first interview with police after the incident when they had to inform him of the dark truth.
“I guess the first thing I want to know is how my daughter is … they won’t tell me a whole lot and they won’t let me watch the news,” Terry can be heard telling police officers.“She’s doing fine,” replied Deputy Fischer.He then asks: “I don’t want to know a whole lot of detail but…oh god…what kind of involvement did she…”Deputy Fischer replies: “Her involvement was great.”
At hearing this, Terry can be heard sobbing, as he realises his family’s tragedy was caused by his own daughter.The scene was screened in the first episode of Piers Morgan’s documentary Killer Women which aired on Wednesday in England.One of the incidents covered in the series is the Texas Family Murders – when 16-year-old Erin Caffey masterminded the execution of her entire family when they demanded she break up with her boyfriend, Charlie Wilkinson.A teenage choirgirl at the time, Erin has now been interviewed by Piers from prison for the series, and can even be seen giving him a rendition of Amazing Grace in a chilling scene in the trailer.Also in the episode, Piers takes father Terry back to the scene of the crime, now just a clearing in the woods, and asks him to recreate what happened there.
n part of his re-enactment, Terry describes how he tried to save his family, who had been shot, attacked with a samurai sword and their house set on fire.”I manage to get to my feet…I’m trying to get out the bedroom door to get upstairs to my children, but by this time the house is totally engulfed, and I’m hit by a wall of flames and forced back into the bedroom … and there’s Penny [his wife] laying there and when I saw her I immediately knew she was gone, because not only did they come in and shoot but he also came with this samurai-type sword and she would nearly be decapitated.”“My mind is thinking, if I die here I might not be able to tell who did this, I’ve got to stay alive long enough to identify who did this.”Erin Caffey is now 24 and is serving two life sentences in prison. She will be eligible for parole in 30 years.