Murderous Children: Cody Posey (14) Shot His Family & Buried Them In Manure

Updated on May 23, 2016
The Killer: 14-year-old Cody Posey
The Killer: 14-year-old Cody Posey
Cody posing with the family he would subsequently murder.  Right to left: Marilea, Tryone, Paul & Cody.  There were secrets hidden behind the smiles in the "happy" family photos...
Cody posing with the family he would subsequently murder. Right to left: Marilea, Tryone, Paul & Cody. There were secrets hidden behind the smiles in the "happy" family photos...

A Cold Blooded Killer, or a Victim Pushed Too Far?

The tale of Cody Posey, and the murder of his family is a sad and tragic one. The strange twist in the story is that what makes it so exceptionally sad and tragic is not what you might think. Any murder is tragic, but it is not the murders themselves that are the heart of this story, but the events of Cody's life leading up to the day when he took a gun and shot and murdered his father, stepmother, and step sister.

The day he would kill his family probably started much like any other day for Cody. It was July 5th, 2004; a hot summer day in Hondo, New Mexico. Cody lived on a ranch owned by famous newsman Sam Donaldson with his father, Paul Posey, 34, his step-mother, Tryone, 44, and his step-sister, Marilea Schmid, 13. Cody's father Paul ran and worked on the 'Chavez Canyon Ranch' for Mr. Donaldson.

From the outside, to most people, the Posey's blended family seemed to be a happy and normal family. To others with a closer view, there were obviously a few dark demons that were hanging around. Yet, no one but the family themselves knew of the true horror and evil that went on behind Chavez Canyon's walls. It was when Sam Donaldson discovered the bloody crime scene that Cody left behind, that the secrets that had been kept hidden for so many years came tumbling out.

Considering all that happened beforehand, it is hard to believe that the final straw that broke Cody Posey came in the form of a slap in the face from his father. That slap on July 4th was the last time Paul Posey would ever hurt his son again. At that moment, Cody finally snapped, went outside and grabbed a shotgun from his sister's saddlebag. He came up behind his stepmother, Tryone, who was reading a book on the couch, and shot her twice in the back of the head. When his father Paul walked in the house, he shot him, and his step-sister Marilea, who had walked in behind his father, was last.

Cody then proceeded to try to cover-up his crime. He loaded the three bodies up in a backhoe, and buried them in a shallow grave in a manure pile. On July 6th, the day after the murders, Sam Donaldson stopped by the ranch, and was greeted with a sight right out of horror movie; blood and broken glass littered the crime scene. He immediately called the police, and it didn't take them long to locate the shallow graves. It was the next day, on July 7th, 2004, two days after the murders occurred, that Cody was arrested and charged with the murder of his family.

The Ranch, owned by Sam Donaldson, that the Posey Family lived & died in.
The Ranch, owned by Sam Donaldson, that the Posey Family lived & died in.
Victims of murder or perpetrators that pushed their own victim too far? Cody's stepmother, father, and step sister.
Victims of murder or perpetrators that pushed their own victim too far? Cody's stepmother, father, and step sister.
Cody demonstrates how his father abused him with a metal hay hook during the murder trial.
Cody demonstrates how his father abused him with a metal hay hook during the murder trial.

What Happened & Why?: "I don't know what I was thinking, I can't tell you, I myself wish I knew"

At first, Cody denied any involvement in the murders. He told police he had last seen his parents on the morning of July 5th, when he left after a fight with his father. The police continued to question him, and it didn't take long for Cody to start telling the truth, and confess to the murders, but the more he talked, the more twisted and horrific the story became.

Cody's tale of being verbally and physically abused started after his parents divorce, during the custody battle. Fortunately, Cody's mother was awarded custody of her son, and they were set to start a new life together, including her new husband, Cody's stepfather. It was just three months after she gained custody that the new family was driving to Washington to start over, when the three were in a tragic roll-over car accident; Cody survived, but watched his mother die. He was just 10 years old. As if that was not horrible enough for young Cody, he then learned that he was to be put back in the custody of his abusive father; he was absolutely terrified.  He begged them not to go.

The story Cody told of the abuse he suffered after that was unimaginable. Belittled, and psychologically abused every day, he was forced to work long hours on the ranch, without food, water, or rest. He told of being kicked, punched, slapped, and smacked around by his father nearly every day. He told them about being woken up with an electric cattle prod, whipped with a lasso, being dragged behind a horse, and being smacked on the back of the hand with the pointy end of a hay hook. He recalled his father's threat to tear his balls off if he popped the clutch in the truck. He said that his step-mother participated in his mental and physical abuse, and his step-sister, Marilea, was encouraged to tattle on him, and rewarded whenever he screwed up. The last tale of abuse he told was the most shocking and disgusting, and is what Cody says really sent him over the edge, not the slap, the day he killed his family.

Cody recalled the previous night before the shootings. His father had burned him with a welding iron, for refusing to go through with his sick and twisted demands; he wanted Cody to have sex with his stepmother, Tryone. When Cody could not be co-erced into the act, and refused to participate in Paul's sick incest fantasies, he was burned by his father with the welding iron. This, claims Cody, was the final sick act that caused him to break down emotionally and kill his family.

Cody Posey during the trial.
Cody Posey during the trial.
Ranch hand Pilo Vasquez, who witnessed Paul's cruelty towards Cody, and corroborated Cody's claims of abuse during the trial.  He is demonstrating how Paul used the large metal hook to inflict pain on Cody.
Ranch hand Pilo Vasquez, who witnessed Paul's cruelty towards Cody, and corroborated Cody's claims of abuse during the trial. He is demonstrating how Paul used the large metal hook to inflict pain on Cody.

News Clip about Cody's Release from Custody...

Trial, Verdict & Sentencing: "I felt dirty, I felt disgusted"

In January of 2006, at the age of 16, Cody Posey stood trial for the murders of his father, step-mother, and step-sister that had taken place a year and a half before. He was being charged as a "youthful offender", which gave the judge the choice of sentencing him as a juvenile or an adult upon conviction.

Cody maintained composure at the start of his trial. It was when his defense lawyer gave his very emotional opening statement, and told the court of the tragic death of Cody's mothers in the car accident, that Cody broke down crying. The psychological torture, physical, and attempted sexual abuse of Cody by his father and step-mother became the core of his defense at trial.

Cody's claims of abuse were corroborated by the testimony of various witnesses to his father's cruel and abusive behaviour towards him. His former stepmother testified that while she was married to Paul Posey, she had to stop him from being mean and abusive towards his son on many occasions. Multiple ranch hands who worked under Paul's leadership testified to the abuse they had seen Cody subjected to at the hands of his father.

In addition, Cody took the stand in his own defense, and testified to the torture he had endured, the horror of what had occurred the night before, and the day he murdered his family. When he spoke of his father attempting to force him to have sex with his step-mother, he said "I felt dirty. I felt disgusted." He described how his father called him into the bedroom, and Tryone Posey was lying in bed naked, and his father told him he was going to have sex with her.

Posey spent two days on the stand testifying about the abuse, and what drove him to murder. When asked what was thinking when he killed them, he said "I don't know what I was thinking, I can't tell you. I myself wish I knew what I was thinking". He said he felt overwhelmed, and lost all control of his emotions at the time of the murders.  He had reached a point of despair on that morning, his defense lawyers argued, and his judgment was impaired.

The prosecution presented witnesses that stated they had never seen a bruise or any sign of abuse whatsoever in regards to Cody.  They had never seen his father act abusive, they said.  They showed the jury the gruesome, bloody crime scene photos.  They claimed that Cody allegations of abuse were just "more manure" piled on top of the bodies of the victims.

When the verdicts came back, Cody sobbed.  He was found guilty of first-degree murder in the case of his step-sister Marilea, second-degree murder in the case of his step-mother Tryone, and voluntary manslaughter in the death of his father Paul.  Many other members of Cody's family, who had stood by him during the trial, broke down and cried as well.  His maternal aunt was so distraught she had to be carried out of the courtroom on a stretcher.

With pleas of leniency coming from Cody's family, as well as from the father of the step-sister, whom he had murdered, the judge chose to sentence Cody as a juvenile for the murders.  Had he been sentenced as an adult, he would have been given life in prison.  Instead, Cody was sentenced to psychiatric treatment, and to remain in a juvenile facility until he turned 21 years old.  Jake Schmid, Marilea's father, said of the judge's decision, "Thank you.  I do not believe that Marilea would have wanted Cody to be punished. He was already and she knew that."

He was committed to a juvenile facility on until April of 2010, when he was then transferred to a transitional rehabilitation facility.  On October 9th, 2010, Cody Posey's 21st birthday, he was officially released, and is now living somewhere amongst society.

Was Cody Let Off Too Lightly?

Should Cody Posey have been tried as an adult, and sent to prison for the murders of his family?

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    • profile image

      Lisa dawn herder 6 months ago

      I hope for only the best for thus young man. What happened to his family is a misfortune, he was put thru the darkest of hell and had to survive. I pray for him everyday.

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      Bindi 8 months ago

      I remember watching this trial every day in Court TV and really prayed for this boy. I am glad that he is released from the facility now . I hope he is leading a productive, meaningful life. He suffered a lot in the hands of his father and step mother and finally he snapped off one fine day. If his Mom was alive, I do not think he had to go through this. Anyway, he got his life back together!!!! Hope and wish that Cody is leading a meaningful, productive life now... All the Best, Cody!!!

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      Tammy 10 months ago

      I watched the trial, and I'm so happy he got to start his life over. His rotten father and stepmother put him through hell. His step sister got caught up being a productive of the parents. If you watched the trial his whole community stood behind him and his step sisters dad. He had no where to go and no one to to turn to. God Bless him! I hope he ends up having a good productive life.

    • profile image

      Coaster 13 months ago

      He is a freaking hero! Nothing I hate more than a child abuser and the people who aid in it continously.

    • profile image

      ..... 16 months ago

      Nope he lied about what happened. He sold the jury lies and they believed it. Now he uses women

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      Crystal 16 months ago

      I watched the court case. Regarding his step-sister Marilea, apparently she was treated as the "golden child" that could do no wrong, which could be why she got a bullet too. If Cody kills as an adult, we'll know the judges' decision was wrong.

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      Deidre Hughes 17 months ago

      I remember EVERY detail of this case ....

      This is truly the justice system at work...wherever Cody is I hope he knows of his extended family and the prayers we put through ~

      Be blessed Cody~

      I often think of Corliss (so) too ...


    • profile image

      ... 17 months ago

      He lives in colorado now. He uses women and when their money runs out he cheats and leaves them after promising them futures. Hes a conartist and i serious question what happened when he was a child because hes a great salesman.

    • profile image

      EAPRN 20 months ago

      I distinctly remember watching this case on Court TV as I was recovering from surgery. As a registered nurse for over thirty years at that time, with over 23 of those years practicing in psychiatric nursing for children, adolescents, as well as adults, this young man's story became imprinted in my mind. I am glad for the judge's decision to sentence him as a juvenile, after taking into account his horrific childhood. I can honestly say I am happy for this young man, wish him the best, and have prayed for a positive outcome many times over the years. Do well, Cody. There are people who believe in you!

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      Jeff 21 months ago

      It sounds like the father and step mother probably got what they deserved. It's just too bad poor Marilea had to pay the price for someone else's crimes.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 21 months ago from Philippines

      Cody's life would have been so different if his mother lived. I especially feel for the father of Marilea, who appealed on Cody's behalf despite his daughter's death. In the deepest darkness, you do see tremendous goodness, sometimes.

    • Rota profile image

      Rota 3 years ago

      goodness, you never know when these things will occur - everything seems fine on the outside so often..

    • melissae1963 profile image

      Melissa Reese Etheridge 3 years ago from Tennessee, United States

      Thank you for such a horrifying, tragic story. I read it with grim fascination. It sickens me just to think about it.

    • Hendrika profile image

      Hendrika 3 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      This is very interesting and shocking to think what goes on in society without us knowing it.

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      Morgan 3 years ago

      Wow. Even if you can understand the killing of the parents there is no excuse for him killing that young girl. He should've paid for that at least. Shame.

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      DJ 4 years ago

      Thank you Palma - so grateful that the Lord gave him another chance at life. Thankful that he was strong enough to make it a success. Understand Cody was inspired to become an attorney - has than been realized?

    • profile image

      prince 5 years ago

      this is sad the way kids are killing their perents

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      palma 5 years ago

      I Was in jail wit him he is a good kid had fuked up parents what he did was wrong but he has a good heart i see him now and he has accomplished wat he planned he goes to school and is about to get married he had another Chance at life and he took it... god bless cody

    • profile image

      Yogurt 6 years ago

      It's sad that he had to do something like this to get the help he needed. I'm glad the justice system treated him fairly, though.

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      CemWolf 6 years ago

      This guy is a serious ghoul. He shouldn't ever get out of jail, he will kill again!

    • seigfried23 profile image

      seigfried23 6 years ago

      It takes a village to raise a child...but in America, no one wants to be in their neighbors' business and so abuse rarely sees the light of day.

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      Joe 6 years ago

      Yes, let us all feel bad for someone that killed a young girl. This guy should of rot in jail!

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      Susan Haze 6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      What a fascinating, horrible story. Poor boy, I believe he was pushed over the edge. How sad that the person who is supposed to care for you and keep you safe can do this to a child.

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      Sage 6 years ago

      Look at the photo! Look at the girl's body language. Her arms are crossed in a defensive posture. The step-father pulling her towards him. Many, many, many girls are molested by step-fathers who marry Mommy, and then desire the daughter. Look at the photo!

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      freann faith 6 years ago


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      ruffridyer 6 years ago from Dayton, ohio

      It is sad when such things happen. Why didn't anyone report the abuse?