Terry Caffey loves his daughter, Erin Caffey, and hopes that one day she will be free again – despite the fact that she helped murder his wife and children, Erin’s own mother and brothers.
Terry Caffey is the sole survivor of a home-invasion that claimed the life of his beloved wife of 17 years, Penny, and the couple’s two young sons, 13-year-old Matthew and 8-year-old Tyler. Caffey survived being shot five times and the subsequent arson that burned down his Texas home. “It was so loud and it’s even hard to describe,” Caffey told ABC of the incident. “I mean, can you imagine someone standing over you and shooting when you’re sound asleep and now you’re being attacked in your bed?”
Caffey’s wife was shot first. “The first few bullets hit her and then I raised up and I threw my body out and I took a few rounds in the upper body part and the chest and I got shot in the face. And I was blown out of bed,” he said. Injured from his wounds, Caffey then tried to leave the bedroom to find his house on fire. “The house is exploding, it’s totally engulfed, and I’m forced back in the bedroom,” Caffey said. “I am trying to climb over the bed but that’s where the flames are and that’s where I found Penny, and when I saw her, it was a terrible scene, her nearly decapitated head. I knew she was gone.”
His son, Matthew, had been shot after he looked outside his room to see what was happening. After that, the killers did not give 8-year-old Tyler a quick death. “I found out that Tyler, 8-year-old little Tyler, was hiding upstairs in the closet and the two boys [the killers], Charlie and Charles, took turns stabbing him to death,” Caffey said. “The hardest thing [was] to hear that. I remember when I heard that, I just couldn’t believe that’s how they did [it], and it goes back to that guilt and I felt I should have been able to save them and I couldn’t.”
Caffey miraculously survived, dragging himself to a neighbor’s house despite his severe wounds. He had recognized one of the killers as Charlie Wilkinson, his 16-year-old daughter’s boyfriend, and while in the hospital, he learned of his daughter Erin’s role in the massacre of his family, notes People. From there, he sank into despair and suicidal depression.
Erin Caffey’s reason for brutally assisting in the cold-blooded murder of her own family? Love. If you can call it that. The Caffeys had forbidden her from seeing boyfriend Charlie Wilkinson, believing he was no good for her. Sadly, they were proven correct and Terry paid the ultimate price for his daughter’s poor judgment.
“I was very angry,” Caffey said, recalling his feelings after the murders. “Not only was I angry at God, but I was angry at my daughter. I was angry at these two young men, the other lady that drove the getaway car. I was just angry. I wanted them to die. I wanted them to pay, especially those two boys. I wanted them to pay for what they did.”
But since then, Caffey has done the unthinkable. The unimaginable. He has forgiven all of them.
“I have met people that have gone through a lot less than what I have and they’ve grown into bitter, angry people, and that’s not who I am, and I saw myself coming that,” he said, adding, “I knew that’s not what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to grow into a bitter angry old man. I’m here. I’m still here. And that’s when I decided to … move on. It’s time to forgive. It’s time to enjoy life again. Life does go on.”
It’s been four years since the March 1st, 2008 attack when Caffey lost everything. He has since re-married and has two stepsons. Those responsible for the murder of his family are imprisoned, and Erin herself won’t be eligible for parole until she is 59, notes NY Daily.
Caffey visits his daughter every few months. His only hope? To live long enough to see his daughter released someday. “My prayer is that I’ll live long enough,” he said. “I want to go. I want to get Erin. I want us to walk away, arm in arm, and never look back.”