Woman who planned the murder of most of her family reveals why she did it

Erin Caffey's father narrowly escaped death but still visits his daughter in prison

Will Worley
Wednesday 04 May 2016 17:18
Erin Caffey orchestrated the murder of her family
Erin Caffey orchestrated the murder of her family

A woman who orchestrated the murder of most of her family has spoken of the “bad choices” she made.

Erin Caffey’s manipulative actions led to the deaths of her mother and two brothers and the attempted murder of her father in 2008.

The former church pianist, who was then just 16 years old, persuaded her boyfriend, Charlie Wilkinson, 18, and his friend Charles Waid, 20, to wipe out her family, apparently after being told she couldn’t see her boyfriend anymore.

One night, while Erin waited outside in a car with another friend, 18-year-old Bobbi Johnson, Wilkinson and Waid entered the Caffey family house in Emory, Texas. They repeatedly shot members of the family and used a samurai sword to stab Erin’s mother, Penny, and Erin’s brothers, Matthew, 13, and Tyler, 8.

Her father, Terry, was shot numerous times but managed to drag himself out of the house before it was burned to the ground by the attackers.

When the four teenagers were arrested shortly after, Wilkinson, Waid and Johnson all told police it was Erin’s idea. She was accused of being angry at how her parents were planning to bar her from seeing her boyfriend. Later, another former boyfriend, Michael Washburn, also claimed he was told by Erin she wanted her family dead.

Erin has now said the events were the result of “bad choices”.

In an interview for a documentary to be broadcast next week, she gives an insight into her motivations.

“I was shocked, angry and hurt, this was the guy [Wilkinson] I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with and he loved me,” Erin tells Piers Morgan. “We were going to get married.”

“When I look back on it now, this was all just stupid. I mean, for what? They weren’t beating me, they weren’t starving me to death. I had it made.”

Erin is now serving a sentence of at least 40 years, as is Johnson, while Waid and Wilkinson are serving life. They escaped the death penalty at the request of Terry, Erin's father. “I wanted them to have the chance to find remorse,” he said.

Despite what happened to his family, Terry still visits his daughter regularly. “I honestly believe she was not the mastermind,” he said. “This was a vulnerable 16-year-old girl with a controlling, psychopathic guy.

“I do forgive her. I have to forgive her.”

Killer Women with Piers Morgan will broadcast on ITV at 9pm on Wednesday, May 11

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments