Officials: Triple Murder Was Planned For Weeks
By LAUREN GROVER
EMORY - If 16-year-old Erin Caffey wanted to be free of her family, she seems to have received her wish.
In the small hours of Saturday morning, her boyfriend, Charlie James Wilkinson, 19, and his friend, Charles Allen Waid, 20, allegedly found Erin's parents sleeping in their bed and shot her mother, 38-year-old Penny Caffey to death and maimed her father, Terry Caffey, 41, who had forbidden Erin to date Wilkinson the night before, according to a sheriff's office report of interviews with the two young men released Monday.
Wilkinson told Erin's 13- and 8-year-old brothers, Matthew and Tyler, to go back upstairs to bed, the report said. Waid went upstairs and shot Matthew in the head and Waid and Wilkinson stabbed Tyler to death with a "sword," the report said.
"It was decided to just walk in there and take care of business," Waid told investigators in the report, and said he was promised $2,000 to help kill the Caffeys.
Erin Caffey, who earlier had quieted the family dog so the young men could enter the home quietly, sat outside with friend Bobbi Gale Johnson, 18, in a car on her street, County Road 2370. She had told her boyfriend where cash and jewelry could be found in the house, which they took and stashed in the car, the report said.
Then the men used hand-held lighters to ignite bedspreads, laundry, food items and furniture to "cover the crimes," the release said. Flames could be seen rising from the house before they left, Johnson told investigators according to the report. The house was engulfed when firefighters arrived at 4:30 a.m. and burned to the ground with the bodies of Penny, Mathew and Tyler inside.
And it was all for love, the report said, and Erin and Wilkinson were scheming weeks before. Terry and Penny Caffey had forbidden their daughter to date Wilkinson on Friday, the day before the murders.
"Wilkinson stated that Erin Caffey wanted her parents dead because they would not let her see Wilkinson and they even took away her cell phone," the report said. "The discussion to kill Erin's parents had been ongoing for about a month."
After the murders, Wilkinson and Caffey slept at a friend's house. Deputies found Wilkinson sleeping on a mattress with two guns nearby, the report said. Caffey was found sleeping under a pile of clothes and stuffed animals. Caffey told the deputies all she remembered was the fire, the report said.
On Monday, Erin began to cry when Justice of the Peace Don Smith told her in an afternoon hearing she wouldn't be released from the juvenile detention center in Greenville. The girl wore the same jeans and T-shirt she was wearing the morning of the murders, he said.
"She's very petite, with blonde hair," he said. "She was emotional, but never said a word. When I asked her if she wanted to ask any questions, she just shook her head."
The girl hugged and talked briefly with her grandmother who has accompanied her to meetings with authorities since Saturday, Smith said.
"The grandmother has mixed emotions, probably," he said. "It's her grandchild."
Her father, Terry Caffey, the sole survivor of the attack, escaped from the burning house with five gunshot wounds to his head, shoulders and chest, and crawled 300 yards to his neighbor's porch where Tommy Gaston called 911.
"He's bloody all over," a frantic Gaston told the dispatcher on a recording of the 911 call. "(It happened) just a little bit ago, and we've also got a house on fire out here."
A bullet in Caffey's head was removed surgically on Sunday morning, family friend Diane Dunlap said, and Caffey has complained of hearing gunshots when he's conscious, Dunlap said. Family members are no longer permitting medical updates from East Texas Medical Center at Tyler where he is being treated.
He was listed in fair condition by an ETMC nursing supervisor on Sunday.
Caffey told authorities he awoke Saturday to find Wilkinson standing in his bedroom, the report said. He heard the name "Charlie" being yelled, he put his arm up to shield himself and was shot several times, the report said. Once at the Gaston's house, Caffey told his neighbor and friend that his family was dead, said Dunlap who is Gaston's niece.
"He does remember," she said on Sunday.
Erin Caffey will spend no more than 10 days in Greenville's detention center before District Judge Robert Newsome will hold another hearing to decide whether she will be detained there until trial, or if she will be tried as an adult.
On Sunday, when Smith interviewed the 16-year-old she "didn't seem frightened" and appeared only "somewhat" distraught, he said.
Classmates say Wilkinson and Caffey were infatuated and often snuck off at school to "make out." Waid and Johnson were also dating, the report said. Caffey had just been enrolled at Rains High School in January, before being home schooled with her two brothers.
All four were arraigned on Sunday morning and charged with three counts of capital murder each. Wilkinson, Waid, and Johnson are being held at Rains County jail on $1,500 bond each. Erin Caffey will remain at the juvenile center in Greenville and cannot be held on bond because she is a minor.
A devoted churchgoer and family man, Terry Caffey was about to be ordained as a Baptist minister and had preached a few sermons at Miracle Faith Baptist in Emory, Dunlap said. Penny Caffey was the church's pianist.