Family Plot

Rick and Suzanna Wamsley were strict with their children. Police say their son paid them back with murder.

Hall says their conversations turned to murder. Andrew and Chelsea wanted certain people dead. Eventually they explained that the targets were Andrew's parents. "He wasn't sure they were really serious," Hall says. But according to Standefer, Cardenas did go along on some car sabotage missions.

When Andrew asked if Cardenas could get him a gun, he agreed to try. Just before Halloween, Cardenas bought a gun off the street and sold it to Andrew for $200. As the couple pushed him to shoot Rick and Suzy, Hall says, Cardenas backed away.

"He kept coming up with excuses that he had to work," Hall says. Chelsea and Andrew stopped coming to the IHOP and no longer called Cardenas on his cell phone.

Plotting at the IHOP: Andrew Wamsley, 19; Chelsea Richardson, 20; Hilario Cardenas, 24; and Susana Toledano, 19
Plotting at the IHOP: Andrew Wamsley, 19; Chelsea Richardson, 20; Hilario Cardenas, 24; and Susana Toledano, 19
Rick and Suzanna Wamsley pose at a New Year's Eve party. Their daughter Sarah, shown in her high school yearbook photo, was allegedly targeted, too.
Rick and Suzanna Wamsley pose at a New Year's Eve party. Their daughter Sarah, shown in her high school yearbook photo, was allegedly targeted, too.

Not long before the murders, Cardenas was arrested for possession of marijuana and the unlawful carrying of a weapon (not the caliber used in the Wamsley murders, Standefer says). Cardenas lost his job, and his wife left him.

Cardenas flunked one polygraph, Hall says, given late at night after hours of interrogation. But the restaurant manager later passed another polygraph, says Hall, who believes that Cardenas wasn't at the house that night. He hopes to work out a plea bargain with the Tarrant County District Attorney's Office in return for Cardenas' testimony.

Andrew and Chelsea have declined to talk to investigators since their arrests. Standefer describes both Andrew and Chelsea as manipulators who fit well together. "Chelsea never had what Andrew had, and she was on board from the beginning," Standefer says. For Andrew, it boiled down to money.

"He's been spoiled rotten all his life," Standefer says, "given everything on a silver platter. Once he realized he can't do what he wants to do without having those things, Andrew decides he doesn't need his parents anymore."

Standefer believes Andrew thought police would suspect Sarah. "He thought his sister was the wild child, the one with all the problems," Standefer says. "I think he felt we would naturally look at her. But the thing about Sarah: As many things as she's gone through with her parents, things she wasn't so proud of, she never got into a situation where she got violent."

If he is convicted, Andrew Wamsley may find himself in prison contemplating the irony: The sister he detests will end up with everything.

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