Netflix’s latest true crime iteration, “I Just Killed My Dad,” sees Skye Borgman return with the tale of Anthony Templet, a nineteen-year-old young man who killed his father and then himself reported it to the police. It is very evident from the premise that there is no mystery here with regards to who the killer was, but rather the focus becomes on why such a heinous act took place. “I Just Killed My Dad” cleverly forms its narrative, like Borgman has been doing in all her works, to empathize with the young boy and his experiences in life.
What Is The Documentary Series ‘I Just Killed My Dad’ About?
On the night of June 3, 2019, the police authorities in Louisiana’s Baton Rouge received an emergency phone call from a young man who called to say that he had just killed his dad. This man, Anthony Templet, then complied with the police who arrived at his house, investigated the murder scene, and eventually took him in for questioning. From this very moment, Anthony’s reactions and his sheer lack of emotions raised eyebrows among the police officers who interrogated him. Asked to report about the night’s events, Anthony said that he had been sleeping in his room when his father came in and started checking his phone, to which the son reacted as he felt it to be a breach of his privacy. The father, Burt Templet, did not take this well and started to verbally and then physically abuse his son, trying to grab and punch him. Anthony somehow managed to avoid the blows and ran into his father’s room and locked himself inside. Burt kept banging on the door, ordering his son to open up, still abusing him, while the boy inside feared that his father would terribly hurt him when he got hold of him. He knew of two guns that his father always kept in his room, and now took them as his last resort to defend himself. Burt was still pushing hard against the door, with cracks appearing in the framework, and he also kept instigating his son when Anthony opened the door and shot his father thrice.
By the time the authorities arrived, Burt was fatally wounded, and he was rushed to the hospital, where, despite surviving on ventilation, the man died after four days. As the police started investigating the case, they came to the conclusion that Anthony’s desperation to defend himself did not really match the scene of the crime. Any physical altercation would have left visible proof, like overturned furniture or the rooms messed up, but the house was found in a rather neat state. After Anthony locked himself up in his father’s room, he had a phone inside the room, and there were also windows through which the boy could have tried to escape the house. But the fact that he had instead chosen to shoot his father dead gravely raised suspicion, and the boy was arrested on charges of suspected manslaughter. Despite this initial outcome, many still felt that Anthony must have had some serious reason for committing such a crime all of a sudden, and gradually, heinous shades of Burt Templet started to come out into the open, which swiftly turned the case around.
What Led To Anthony Killing His Father And Not Having Many Regrets About It?
The primary reason the altercation between the father and son took place on the night of June 3 was regarding Susan Templet, Burt’s legal wife at the time and Anthony’s step-mother. Susan had left Burt a few months prior to the incident, owing to the fact that the man was very abusive, both physically and mentally, and Burt believed that his son still kept contact with her despite him telling him not to. It was to check on this, trying to look for any messages or phone call records, that the father had barged into his son’s room and went through his phone. It is very quickly established that Burt Templet was an abusive man, but the extent of it is only revealed later on. He was an extremely controlling individual who always wanted things to be his own way, failing which he would insult close family members and also physically hurt them.
The man had installed eight surveillance cameras all around the house’s entry and exit points, like driveways and doors, to make sure that his wife and son were never lying to him or hiding anything from him. Sometime before the incident, Anthony had been hired as an attendee at a local nursery because his father wanted him to work there. The boy’s closest colleague at the place recounts how Burt would actually constantly track his son’s movements via his phone’s location and through tracking apps. Both Susan and her son from her previous marriage, Peyton, share how Anthony was always a fun-loving kid until his adolescent years, when he started to grow scared of his father. This made Anthony mostly keep to himself inside his room, and the boy did not seem to have any friends or acquaintances at all. What was even more strange was that all the neighbors said that either they had never really seen Anthony or had only come across him once or twice in the grocery market, and the boy seemed very reluctant to have any conversation. This negative effect largely grew after Susan left the house, forcing Anthony to stay and cope with the abusive Burt all by himself.
With Anthony now in police custody awaiting trial, a lawyer named Jarrett Ambeau decided to take up the case as the boy’s defense attorney. As Jarrett himself admits, his own troubled childhood and past traumas made him feel for Anthony and fight his cause pro bono, that is, without charging any legal fee. Among those very few people who knew Anthony closely was his colleague from the nursery, who wanted to dig deeper into this case, and she wanted to find out who the boy’s biological mother was. When the police had earlier asked him about his mother’s identity during their initial interrogation, the boy could not give them any name, and he also could not properly tell them his own date of birth and his house address. When his mother, a woman living in Texas’ Ingleside, was traced down, further shocking revelations were made public about Burt and Anthony.
Teresa Thompson, the biological mother, very quickly produced a missing poster of young Anthony, or AJ, as they lovingly called him, which suggested that Burt had actually kidnapped the boy. What was perhaps even more shocking was that Burt was indeed Anthony’s biological father and that the young child was kidnapped from his own house. Teresa herself makes the whole situation clear in “I Just Killed My Dad,” as she speaks of how she had met and fallen in love with Burt many years ago, and the two had started to live together. After some months, the man, an engineer by profession, had to go over to Houston for his job, and Teresa moved in with him. However, the man’s controlling attitude and his constant demand that his partner put all her attention on him became clear to the woman. Burt had already started to verbally and physically hurt Teresa when she gave birth to Anthony, and she had also made police complaints multiple times. This abusive behavior increased after the baby, and Burt even once took him away for a long time only to punish Teresa for something. The man was also by now addicted to cocaine and alcohol, all of which prompted his behavior. One night, a friend of Burt’s walked into their house and told Teresa that her husband had hired him to kill her, which made her desperately escape the house and then return after a few days. Once, when the man’s parents had come over, he physically assaulted her in front of them, and when the parents tried to stop him, he ordered them to leave. It was with them that Teresa escaped the house, never to return again, but she, unfortunately, could not take her boy along with her.
After returning home to her mother and sister, and with their help, Teresa then filed for a protective order and custody of her child, stating how dangerously abusive her ex-partner was, both of which she procured. Burt still kept avoiding her, though, never showing up to custody hearings until law enforcement stepped in and brought young Anthony to his mother in Ingleside. The real matter only began from here, as Burt kept stalking Teresa’s house, trying to find some way to get his son back, and he finally managed to do it by duping the law. The man had lodged his own lawsuit in Louisiana in which he claimed Teresa to be a drug addict and unfit as a parent, and the court here, unaware of the previous court case that Teresa had won in Houston, declared Burt to have custody of their son.
One afternoon, as Teresa and her other children were out, Burt went to their house and took Anthony from there, with the help of policemen who believed they were rescuing the kid from an unhealthy environment. Burt then brought Anthony to Baton Rouge and settled down in the neighborhood, where they continued to live till his death. Although this might still seem like the actions of an abusive but caring father who did all this out of blind love, the way Burt treated his son was nothing short of absolutely shocking. It is quite evident that from a very young age, Anthony did not like being with his father, for reasons that were obvious even to the child, and Burt feared that his son would talk about this dislike to others if he got any chance. To stop any possibility of this, he never enrolled Anthony in any school, and neither did he follow the procedures of homeschooling.
Over the years, the boy had only learned how to read and write very basic English and only the mere basics of calculations. Not only was the child’s academic potential taken away, but his social development was tremendously stunted because of this. Anthony did not know much about how to talk to people and obviously found social situations extremely unnerving. It was in such a horrible environment that he grew up, with Burt growing more abusive as the boy grew in age, and he would always blame his son for his mistakes and never give him any love or support. After Susan had left Burt in the recent past, the man grew bitter all the more, and had even lost his job, which meant that he was losing money very quickly. Now he took up drinking even more, and would stay drunk most of the day, which easily led to his temperament always being at an abusive extreme. Anthony recalls how he felt the environment in his house to be terribly hostile in the few months after his step-mother had left them, and he claims that it was all of this that had made him act the way he did on that fateful night.
‘I Just Killed My Dad’ Ending Explained: What Did The Court Decide In Anthony’s Case?
After Anthony was first arrested by the police on charges of suspected manslaughter, the grand jury actually indicted him of second-degree murder, which is legally a more punishable offense than manslaughter. In the state of Louisiana, a manslaughter charge would be punished with a sentence of no more than forty years, but a charge of murder would immediately be punished with life imprisonment. A few months later, his bond was reduced by a judge so that he could receive counseling, and was released from prison with a number of requirements he needed to fulfill, like being monitored and tracked at all times and seeking regular mental health evaluations.
As Jarrett Ambeau kept preparing for the defense case, he realized through a mock-trial that some valid confirmation regarding Anthony’s mental trauma needed to be produced, since no physical evidence of it existed. He hired a forensic psychologist to evaluate Anthony’s mental state in the months leading up to his crime, and this seemed to have played an instrumental role in the assessment of this case. There were a few discrepancies with regards to the claims of torture and abuse, as the two women who had legally complained against Burt, his partner, and then his wife, did not really mention too much abuse on the son. The police had even visited their Baton Rouge house after complaints from Susan’s elder son, and had directly asked Anthony whether he was being tortured by his father, but he denied such claims at that time. The young man had also said that his father and he did not get along very well when he was asked by the police why he had killed his father in the initial interrogation. One actually in such a situation, might have straight out said that his father was abusive and not given such a roundabout explanation of things.
However, all these nuances were ultimately seen to come from the fact that Anthony had been a subject of abuse from such a young age. He perhaps could not really clearly make out his situation until he was a young adult, and his communication skills were also severely lacking. Taking everything into account, the Louisiana District Attorney’s office came to the conclusion that they should press charges of negligent homicide against Anthony, which meant that he had committed a murder not out of violence and that he was clear to get probation almost immediately. If he lives through the probation period while fulfilling all the requirements correctly, then the boy can even expunge it from his criminal record. The prime factor in such an outcome was the fact that Anthony had been abused and held captive for almost the entirety of his life. It is even understandable from the perspective that a boy who was never given any education or any practical experience or knowledge would also have a very impaired understanding of right and wrong.
Since his release from prison and after the case was settled, Anthony has remained out of the public eye, and no mention of his present whereabouts is made in “I Just Killed My Dad.” What the show instead ends with, though, is a nice personal insight into the young man’s understanding of the world after his time spent in prison. The fact that Anthony was once neglected and left alone with no love at all now has so many of his family members reuniting and looking after him, along with hundreds of others who followed the case, is heartwarming indeed.
“I Just Killed My Dad” is a 2022 crime documentary series streaming on Netflix.