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Erin Caffey was 16 when she began plotting to murder her parents. She was 17 when she pled guilty to capital murder. She entered a plea when it was clear she would be tried as an adult.
Growing up Erin would sing in the church, either solo or with her mother. Some said she had a beautiful voice, and one man wanted her to sing at his funeral he liked her singing so much.
Kayla Vierling (18) stated "She and her mom were never apart. She was always real happy." A friend of Penny's, Holly Grant, knew Erin as well and stated "Erin loved her brothers she was very sweet to them."
Others called Erin "naive and somewhat shy" and figured that Erin had "fallen under Wilkinson's spell." (The upset about Erin and Charlie Wilkinson) "It was "more about the age different than anything else. God help her. I don't know what she was thinking."
What Erin was thinking, was how to be with Charlie Wilkinson "forever."
Charles "Charlie" James Wilkinson & Erin Caffey
Erin's parents both worked, Terry Caffey working in home health care delivering medical equipment, and Penny, as a substitute driver for a local charity and church pianist. The family were devout and attended church and church events regularly. Her dad had preached a few sermons at their church and was about to be ordained as a Baptist Minister.
The family had lived near Point, Texas before moving to the Alba area, and Erin had gone to school in a nearby town, Celeste, Texas from 1st grade to the 7th grade. After their move, for her 8th grade year she was home schooled with her brothers. For her freshman (9th grade) year in high school Erin was enrolled in at Rains High school.
There she met Charles Wilkinson, age 19, a senior, and through him, she met his friend Charles Allan Waid, age 20, and his girlfriend Bobbi Johnson (18) also a senior at the high school. Increasingly the two girls found themselves in each other's company by virtue of being with their boyfriends.
Holding hands, sneaking out of classes for a making out session, it was noticed by other students that Erin and Charlie were virtually inseparable. Erin's parents marked the change in their daughter and were concerned and disapproving. "The parents didn't like the boy and were trying to break them up. They told me at church they didn't have any use for him." Charlie was older than Erin, and he liked to drink, which didn't fit with the Caffey's lifestyle and beliefs. They also felt he was "controlling" towards Erin. Charlie began attending church services with Erin, but even there they kept themselves apart and held hands. Other church members chalked it up to "puppy love and the usual teenage stuff." Those who spoke with Erin about the situation would receive "I know. I'm confused. I want to please my parents, but I like him."
Only for Erin, it wasn't just "like." She felt she was in "love" and she didn't like interference in her romance from anyone, but especially not from her parents. The more she thought about it, the more she wanted them dead so she could be with Charlie. Although many who know Charles Wilkinson say he is quite manipulative, it appears Erin was no slouch at getting what she wanted.
Erin broached her idea of killing her parents to Charlie and they discussed it several times over a period of a month. They even brought in Charlie's pal, Charles Waid into the plotting. Because Bobbi Johnson was usually with Waid, she was also aware of the situation. Erin and her parents continued to fight over her relationship with Wilkinson and as a result Erin's cell phone was taken away.
"Wilkinson stated Erin Caffey wanted her parents dead because they would not let her see Wilkinson and they even took away her cell phone. The discussion to kill Erin's parents had been ongoing for about a month."
"Erin and I were in love and the only way we could be together was to kill the parents."
Erin gave her boyfriend Charlie Wilkinson a combination to a lockback containing cash, and told him where to find her mom's jewelry, and her dad's wallet. She was waiting in the car with Bobbi Johnson when the murders and arson were committed by their boyfriends. After the crimes the four drove around and then dropped Erin and Charlie off so they could "celebrate" being "together forever" by having sex.
Erin was discovered the next day hiding under a pile of laundry and stuffed animals in Charles Waid's trailer. She claimed all she remembered of the night was being yelled at by two people to get onto the floor and the fire.
January 2, 2009 - Preliminary trial hearing: Erin Caffey, age 17, pled guilty to capital murder. Sentence: Two life sentences with an additional 25 year sentence. Even if she would get parole at some point, she'd still have to serve the 25 years.
Terry Caffey with Erin Caffey at her preliminary hearing where she pled guilty.