(born October 9, 1989) is a New Mexico teenager who confessed to
killing his father, stepmother, and stepsister on July 4, 2004;
when he was 14 years old.
found guilty of various degrees of homicide. He was subsequently
sentenced as a juvenile to be detained until he was 21 years old
with the possibility of parole after 40 days.
In 1992, when
Cody was 3 years old, his parents Delbert Paul and Carla Burst,
filed for divorce. This caused a very acrimonious custody
dispute that lasted 8 years. In between that time period Delbert
remarried with Sandy Paul. She and Cody had a good relationship,
however she divorced Cody's father in 1998.
dispute ended in 2000, when Delbert Paul, who was more commonly
referred to by his middle name "Paul", surrendered his parental
rights to his ex-wife. Cody's mother gained full custody, but it
would last for a few short months. Cody's mother, Carla, was
fatally injured in a car accident. As a result, Cody Posey was
returned to his father, who by then was remarried with Tryone
process, Cody also gained a younger step-sister; Marilea, who
was approximately one year younger than he. Cody, his father,
and new step-mother and step-sister lived in a ranch owned by
ABC reporter Sam Donaldson, in Chavez Canyon, New Mexico. In
2001, Donaldson hired Paul Posey to care for the ranch.
On Monday July
4, 2004, Cody Posey, after enduring years of abuse from his
father, "snapped" when his father slapped him across the face
for not cleaning the horse stalls fast enough.
his defense team, prior to the murder, Cody was burnt with a
welding rod and instructed by his father to have sex with
Tryone. Cody told sheriff's deputies that he refused and ran off
the property but did return later.
The next day,
upon being slapped, Cody took a gun from his step-sister's
saddlebag and loaded it. He went inside the house, where Tryone
Posey was reading a book in the living room, and shot her twice
in the head. Cody confessed that he shot her a second time to
make sure he got the job done. The first shot was actually snake
shot. Cody thought he unloaded the snake shot in favor of more
hearing the shots, ran inside where Cody also shot him to death.
Next he pointed his weapon towards Marilea, who was behind Paul,
shooting her in the head, for fear that she would be the one to
turn him in. Cody dragged the bodies out of the house and loaded
them in the bucket of a John-Deere backhoe.
he attempted to bury them in a nearby plot of land, but after
not being able to break the ground, opted to bury them in a
shallow grave in a manure pile. After the murders, Cody changed
clothes and drove his father's truck to the store for a can of
Sprite. He then drove to a friend's house staying there until
Tuesday, Sam Donaldson could not reach his employee Paul Posey
on the phone, so he and his wife drove out to the Posey ranch.
Mr. Donaldson entered the house to discover something was very
wrong. He witnessed the congealed blood by the refrigerator
where Cody shot Paul in the head as he came through the door.
Mr. Donaldson immediately called a friend and law enforcement
officer to investigate. It wasn't until after Cody confessed to
the killings that the bodies were uncovered in the manure pile.
Cody tossed the murder weapon (.38 special) in the river.
began January 16, 2006. Sam Donaldson described Cody Posey as
"withdrawn, like any typical teenager". Another witness Robert
Sibbles, stated that the boy's disciplined and overly scheduled
life involved sadism, humiliation, and isolation, which "did not
allow for any kind of outlet."
planned the orders of the killings so that he would not get
caught, the prosecution contends that actions taken by the
defendant prove that he was aware of the fact that murdering his
family was a crime.
He shot Tryone
first in order to keep her from calling 911 because she was
inside the home. Various witnesses, however, testified that Paul
Posey indeed was abusive and cruel to Cody. He frequently
punched or slapped the boy. He gave Cody various chores around
the ranch and they had to be done quickly.
biological mother once reported him for child abuse, after Paul
beat Cody with a board on the buttocks for bringing home bad
grades. The defense suggested Tryone was also into the abuse.
Marilea was favored by the couple over Cody and was instructed
by Paul and her mother to keep tabs on Cody in school.
attorney, Gary Mitchell, never denied that Cody murdered the
family - instead he suggested the murder happened as a result of
years of abuse and dissociation.
the defense brought in evidence of incestuous pornography, which
was found on Paul Posey's computer, the only computer in the
home that had access to the internet. Marilea's and Cody's
computers did not have the internet, and the times that the
sites were visited the children were away at school.
prosecution, however, claims the child abuse claims are
exaggerations. They portrayed Cody as a cold-blooded killer, who
wanted to be rid of his family because they made him do chores
and perform well in school. The prosecution submitted family
photos to counter attack the defense's notion that Cody was not
loved or included in family events.
February 7, 2006, Posey was convicted of first degree murder in
the death of his stepsister, second degree murder in the death
of his stepmother, and voluntary manslaughter in the death of
his father. He was also found guilty of four charges of evidence
On Thursday February 23, 2006 Cody was sentenced
by Judge Counts as a juvenile and is to remain in the custody of
juvenile authorities until he reaches the age of 21. He could be
released on parole in as little as 40 days from the day he was
On September 25, 2006,
Cody was named in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Miami
attorney Jack Thompson on behalf of the surviving Posey
relatives. Also named were Grand Theft Auto creator Rockstar
Games, publisher Take Two Interactive and PlayStation 2
manufacturer Sony. The lawsuit alleged Posey was trained by the
video game GTA: Vice City to be more aggressive, and a more
Teen Cody Posey convicted of
murder, manslaughter for killing his family
Feb. 8, 2006
— A New Mexico jury found a 16-year-old boy guilty of two murder
counts and one count of voluntary manslaughter Tuesday for the
shooting deaths of his parents and stepsister on a ranch owned
by newsman Sam Donaldson.
Cody Posey was convicted of first-degree murder
for the death of stepsister Marilea, who was 13 when Cody shot
her twice in the head in July 2004, after deciding his world
would "be better off" without his family.
He was convicted of second-degree murder for
killing his stepmother, Tryone.
The jury found him guilty of a lesser count,
voluntary manslaughter, for killing his father, Paul Posey, who
Cody claimed abused him physically and emotionally from the time
he was a baby up until minutes before the shootings.
The seven women and five men of the jury
deliberated 12 hours before reaching their verdict, and left the
courthouse without commenting.
Although Cody was tried in children's court, 12th
District Judge James Waylon Counts could sentence him as an
adult for the murder convictions. First-degree murder carries a
maximum life sentence, with parole in 30 years, and
second-degree murder carries a 20-year maximum.
After three weeks of evidence, which often put
the victims on trial as abusive aggressors, emotions ran high as
Counts read the verdict to a courtroom packed with Cody's
supporters on one side and his victims' relatives on the other.
Cody, who was mostly poised throughout the trial,
bowed his head onto the defense table and sobbed as his attorney
hugged him. His aunt and custodial guardian, Corliss Clees, who
has been a staunch supporter of the teen, collapsed weeping onto
the floor at the front row of the gallery and was later carried
out on a stretcher by paramedics.
Throughout the trial, the victims' families have
bristled at the public support for Cody, which was evident even
through deliberations as picketers marched outside the
courthouse carrying signs that read "Free Cody."
Many of Cody's teachers, classmates and fellow
ranch hands from his home in Hondo served as defense witnesses
and corroborated claims that the Poseys abused their son with
shovels, lariats, rocks, a hay hook and other implements of
ranch life, as well as fists and demeaning words.
But Otero County prosecutors said the manner in
which Cody carried out the killings reflected premeditated
calculation and cold-bloodedness.
In a videotaped police statement two days after
the shootings, Cody said the shootings occurred after an
argument in which his father, who worked as a foreman on
Donaldson's ranch, slapped him over cleaning the horse corrals.
And the night before the killings, he said, his father tried to
make him have sex with his stepmother, a claim his defense
attempted to corroborate with evidence of "incestuous"
pornography on his father's computer.
After weighing his options, Cody said he went to
the barn to retrieve his sister's .38-caliber revolver, emptied
it of snake shot and reloaded it with live rounds.
He then entered the family's home and shot Tryone
first so she would be unable to call authorities.
As his father and stepsister came running into
the house, Cody shot one after the other, shooting Marilea twice
in the head as she wiggled on the ground, "so she wouldn't go
tell or nothing."
He buried the bodies in a shallow grave of
He then drove his father's truck into town,
bought a can of Sprite and stayed with friends.
Donaldson was the first to come upon the grisly
crime scene, where trails of blood marked the path from the
point-blank shootings to the makeshift graves.
The jury also found Cody guilty of four counts of
evidence tampering for his attempts to bury the body and cover
up his crimes.
Following the verdict Tuesday, Verlin Posey,
brother of victim Paul, said he felt the verdict was a
compromise but was pleased that his nephew would remain locked
"One lifetime in prison is a pretty small debt
for three," said Verlin Posey, who testified for the state that
he never detected signs of an abusive relationship between his
brother and nephew.
Cody's defense lawyer, Gary Mitchell, who became
emotional at several times during the trial when speaking of the
ordeals he believed Cody had endured, said the teen was
unprepared for the verdict.
"Children never expect horrible things to happen.
He thinks there's some sort of sense of justice in this world,"
said Mitchell in a tearful interview with reporters on the
"We put the blame on a 14-year-old for the sins
and omissions of the adults," Mitchell said. "This could have
been prevented if those adults who stood by came forward, yet we
expect him to act with greater courage."