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Terry Caffey - January 9, 2009
"It was decided to just walk in there and take care of "business." "I was offered $2,000 to help kill the Caffeys." (Charles Waid)
Surviving five bullets, shot in the head, shoulder, chest and twice in the back, and then crawling out of a burning house and then over 300 yards to get help, Terry Caffey qualifies as a walking miracle. I'd say he qualifies in another way as well. He's forgiven his attackers, the murderers who took his family's lives in brutal fashion.
But that's no surprise to those who know him. Family, friends, co-workers and church members all speak of a man with great faith.
Terry Caffey worked hard and had a good life. He had a loving wife and three children he loved and was proud of. He and his wife and children were active in their church. Employed in the home health care field, Terry delivered medical supply equipment. He was also preparing to be ordained to become a Baptist Minister and preached a few sermons for their church.
Penny worked hard as well. Penny was a substitute driver for a local charity and delivered meals to the elderly and indigent. She was a member of a gospel singing group "The Gaston Singers" that performed at area churches and was also her church's pianist. Her friends remember her as being a good cook and accomplished seamstress. "Unless she was sick, she didn't miss one service." Penny would cook food on Saturday and bring it to church for after Sunday services fellowship.
Terry and Penny tried to do the best for their children and to raise them right. Matthew 13, and Tyler 8, were well behaved boys and were enrolled in the Rains school system. Matthew played the harmonica and bass guitar and Tyler played guitar too. At 8 years old his most favorite thing was chocolate milk. Their sister Erin, at 16 was a freshman at Rains High School.
Terry, Penny, Tyler and Matthew were good people and didn't deserve what happened to them. And the catalyst, the one responsible, was Erin Caffey.
2008 - February - Terry Caffey's father passed away - one and a half weeks later horror befell the Caffey family.
2008 - March - Thursday night - Terry and Penny had been disturbed by Erin's obsession with Charles Wilkinson, age 18, for about six months. They thought the infatuation would pass but it didn't. Instead it got worse. Things were contentious around their household with Erin acting out and rebelling. It was bad enough that they took away her cell phone as a punishment. The situation hadn't gotten any better and that Thursday night, Terry and Penny made Erin and Charlie break up.
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 discussion to kill Erin's parents had been ongoing for about a month." "Erin, Wilkinson and Waid had several conversations on how to kill her parents."
Friday night -early Saturday morning - Awakening to shots being fired Terry Caffey saw a man standing in the bedroom and recognized him as Charles Wilkinson.
Terry saw the gun and threw up his arm to shield himself and as he did hear someone else yell "Charlie!" A shot rang out and he was hit. After Charles Wilkinson fired several shots at Penny, he turned the gun on Terry and fired. He had fired several shots and then handed the gun to his buddy Charles Waid, who fired into the couple several more times.
"He fired a .22-caliber handgun at Mrs. Caffey several times, but did not kill her. He then handed the weapon to Charles Waid, who fired several more times at the man and wife." (Police report)
Tyler and Matthew, hearing the shots ran down the stairs from the loft bedroom. Charles Wilkinson told them to "go back to bed." The boys wanted to know what was going on. As both Waid and Wilkinson started up the stairs the boys ran back up to the loft. There, 13 year old Matthew was shot twice and 8 year old Tyler was butchered, stabbed with a sword by both Waid and Wilkinson.
"Mr. Wilkinson told them to return to their beds in the loft. The two men followed the children upstairs. Mr. Waid shot 13-year-old Matthew in the head or neck, records show, and both men stabbed 8-year-old Tyler with a sword."
Wilkinson and Waid robbed the house and then set it on fire.
It's likely Terry Caffey heard his son's screams and perhaps reached over to see how Penny was.
With the house in flames and the attackers gone, Terry crawled from the burning home and across 300 yards to his neighbors home to get help. He told his neighbors that his family was dead. Everyone, including Terry believed that all of his family, including Erin were dead.
911 Call audio and photos of the crime scene.
Instead, he faced an awful realization once he was well enough to be told, that his family had been wiped out at the behest of his own 16 year old daughter, Erin.
"Erin and I were in love and the only way we could be together was to kill the parents." (Charles Wilkinson)
It was later determined by forensic autopsy that Penny, Tyler and Matthew were still alive when the house was burning.
After surgeries Terry Caffey has recovered his physical health. He hasn't lost his faith throughout the ordeal and when Waid and Wilkinson pled guilty instead of facing a trial and the death penalty, Terry addressed them:
"Every birthday, every Christmas, I spend with out my family
because you choose to take something so precious from me."
Terry showed them a family portrait & asked them to look at it.
"Remember what you took from me. I'll never be able to see my
boys drive their first car, I'll never get to see them graduate
high school or college, I'll never get to see them walk down the
aisle and get married, never will they be able to give me grandchildren."
"After taking my family, you burned down my home, and many of the
precious memories within. But, despite it all, I forgive you."
Terry Caffey also asked them "Do you know where you'll spend eternity when you die? If you don't, I pray that you'll face what you did and spend eternity in heaven.
.Rains County Attorney, Robert Vititow "he's just unbelievable.. He's just.. God has his hand on him."
Terry Caffey was asked "How can you forgive the men that killed your wife and sons?
Terry responded " "I found my answer and comfort in Romans, Chapter 12 of the Bible. It says bless
them who persecute you, bless and curse not."
Terry Caffey stood with his daughter Erin and held her hand as she pled guilty to capital murder.
Below he stands with her as she receives a sentence of two life terms plus 25 years.