In the early morning hours of March 1, 2008 Tommy Gaston woke to a thudding noise on his front porch. When he opened the door, he found the bloody body of his neighbor, Terry Caffey. Terry had been shot 5 times and was just barely clinging to life, but he managed to tell the horrible truth to Tommy: his wife and children were dead. They had been shot by two men who had broken into their home wielding guns and samurai swords. Tommy looks out into the woods that separate his home from Terry’s. Through the trees he can see an enormous fire raging. Terry tells him that his house is burning to the ground. He was the only one to escape alive. But he saw the killers. He knows who did this.
Terry and Penny Caffey were Texans, born and bred. They had grown up in small towns, in God-fearing communities and were happy to be raising their own family in a small town where their congregation was the focal point of their lives. They had been blessed with three wonderful children: Erin, Bubba, and Tyler. Raising children had been just what Penny and Terry had always dreamed it would be; a lot of fun, a lot of work and a constant juggling-act. They were particularly concerned with striking the right balance for their kids between the values they taught at home and outside influences and for this reason, they decided to homeschool the children when they were younger.
When their oldest, Erin, turned sixteen she wanted to spend more time with kids her age, to have a more typical teenage life. So Penny and Terry let her attend the local public high school. It was there that she developed a relationship with Charlie Wilkinson. Charlie was a bad-boy and Penny and Terry cringed when they realized that their daughter had fallen head over heels for him. He was disrespectful to them and his drinking and partying was something they wanted their daughter to have no part in. Little did they know that when they told Erin she had to stop seeing Charlie they were lighting a fuse that would end in the destruction of their family.
Outside Tommy Gaston’s house, when the paramedics and police finally arrive, Terry tells them that it was Charlie who killed his family, that he came back for revenge. And although it at first appears to Terry and law enforcement alike that Charlie acted alone, a series of shocking discoveries and interrogation-room confessions reveal the stunning truth: it was Erin - still very much alive - who ordered the murder of her family.