"My Family Slaughtered for My Daughter's Teenage Love:" Can a Father Forgive?

February 4, 2014
Dr. Phil continues his exclusive jailhouse interview with Erin Caffey, who is serving two life sentences plus 25 years in prison for her part in the murders of her mother and two younger brothers, and attempted murder of her father, in 2008, when she was 16. Speaking publicly for the first time, Erin denies that she was the mastermind who plotted to kill her family — but admits she knew about it and didn’t stop it. Dr. Phil asks what everyone wants to know — why? Erin has told three different stories to authorities, a counselor, and her father about what happened that night — can Dr. Phil get to the truth? Plus, hear Erin’s heartfelt letter to her father, written four months into her incarceration — and Dr. Phil’s thoughts on the letter. Terry says he’s forgiven his daughter — but is he in denial about her role in the massacre? And, did Erin want her family dead long before dating Charlie? Erin’s ex-boyfriend, Michael, makes a shocking claim. See what you missed in Part 1.







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Terry Caffey, where his house once stoodErin, Terry's daughterLisa Tanner, Texas Assistant Attorney GeneralMichael, Erin's ex-boyfriend

Erin's First Interview

Because she was only 16 at the time of the crime, Erin was never interviewed by police and never cross-examined by a prosecutor. Erin sits down with Dr. Phil in an exclusive interview about her role in the murders of her mother and brothers.

Erin continues to say she was not the driving force behind her family’s murders, despite her accomplices swearing that she was the mastermind. Can Dr. Phil get to the truth?

“Wasn’t it your idea to kill your parents?”

Dr. Phil reviews several witnesses’ statements that claim Erin wanted her parents killed — Charles, Bobbi, two of Bobbi’s cellmates, a woman who says Erin and Charlie told her they were thinking of killing her parents, and a classmate at school who overheard Erin and Charlie talking two weeks before the murders took place.

“Charlie says he begged you, ‘Let’s just run away,’ and you said, ‘No, I want them dead. I want my parents dead.’ True or false?” Dr. Phil asks.

“I mean, he did say, at one point, ‘Let’s run away,’ and I told him, ‘No, my parents are going to be looking for me,’” Erin says.

Back onstage, Dr. Phil asks Erin's father, Terry, “Do you think all of those people are lying?”

“No, I don’t think they’re lying,” Terry says. “Erin shared that when they got in the car, she said the two boys were high-fiving her, and her and Bobbi were hysterical crying. And I believe it was Charlie who said, ‘Not a word of this. If anybody says anything, you’ll be dead just like them.’”

“But you heard her say and affirm to me that when they were arguing, she said, ‘Just go do it.’ She gave the command for the family to be killed,” Dr. Phil points out.

“I believe she said that, and that’s where she crossed the line. That’s where she’s got to be accountable,” Terry says.

Unraveling the Plan

According to reports, Charles Waid agreed to participate in the murders in exchange for a payment of $2,000. Part of that payment was supposed to come from the savings hidden in a lock box tucked away in the Caffey's laundry room. After the murders, when the fire was contained, investigators found the lock box opened using the correct combination.

Dr. Phil asks Erin about the lock box. And, will she come clean about her role in the murders to help her father heal?

Back onstage, Terry says their plan made no sense. “They threw the sword, not only the sword in river, but Erin’s suitcase is floating in the river,” he says. “I’m thinking, why would her suitcase be in the river? The next day you’re not going to be able to go shopping. The whole country is going to be looking for you. You’re going to need clothes. What do you do?” 

Lisa Tanner, Assistant Attorney General in Texas, says the group had no plan. She says Charles bought a second pair of boots the morning after the killings, and Bobbi went to work. When Charles came clean after he was arrested, he took investigators to the place by the river where he stashed the original boots and where the sword and suitcase were thrown in the river. Lisa says Charles’ thinking was that if they got away with it, he’d have two pairs of boots. In Charles’ confession, he says Erin told them the combination to the lock box and instructions where to find it, as well as a wallet and purse they could steal from.

Dr. Phil tells Terry, “If you’re running away, that involves people leaving the house. That doesn’t involve people coming in the house. She’s giving them information to use inside the house because she knows they’re coming in the house. Because this isn’t a runaway — it’s a murder.”

Dr. Phil reviews the phone records, noting that there were 13 phone calls to Charlie from Erin. Lisa says Charlie was very detailed in his explanation that night about Erin calling him repeatedly from the house, asking him to come over and finding out where they were.

Terry explains that Erin told him that she was trying to convince Charlie not to come to the house and suggested that they run away instead.

“If she was running away, why did she leave her suitcase behind?” Dr. Phil asks Terry. “You can’t make sense out of nonsense. Runaways take their stuff and run away.”

Erin still denies being the mastermind behind the crime, but admits that she did say she wanted her family dead. Dr. Phil explains why Erin cannot truly forgive herself or accept forgiveness from her father until she owns the truth.

"I’ve got an entire notebook here where people are saying it was your idea to kill your parents."

Searching for a Killer before Charlie?

The police interviewed an ex-boyfriend of Erin’s who says Charlie wasn’t the first person she tried to enlist to kill her family. Michael joins the conversation via satellite.

“I said, ‘You crazy bitch. Get the hell out of my house.’”

“This is evidence, testimonial evidence that before she was dating Charlie, she had it in her mind to have her parents killed,” Dr. Phil tells Terry. “It has to start beginning to be clear that you have to entertain the possibility that this was her desire to do and not that she was just a passenger. Do you agree with that?”

“I’ll agree with that,” Terry says.

A Letter from Behind Bars

Erin, who will be eligible for parole when she is 59 years old, wrote her father a heartfelt letter from prison. Hear Dr. Phil’s take on Erin’s letter. And, Terry opens up about the night he almost committed suicide.

“‘None of this was your fault. If anything, it was mine.’”

Find out what Terry believes was a message from God that saved him from committing suicide in his grief. And, hear Dr. Phil’s final advice for Terry.

In Dr. Phil’s final moments with Erin, he asks her, “If Mathew and Tyler are hearing this right now, what would you say to them?”

“I’m sorry,” she says quietly. “I think that’s all I could say.”

“And to your mother?”

“She was right,” Erin says.

“She was right about?”

“Everything.”

“Was she a good woman? Was she a good mother?” Dr. Phil asks.

Erin nods.

“Did she deserve what you made happen here?”

“No.”