ON June 3rd 2019, Anthony Templet made a chilling call to 911 and calmly told the operator: “I just killed my dad. I shot him three times.”
Anthony, then 17, had two guns and blasted his father Burt Templet in the head at their home in Louisiana – leaving him to die.
Despite admitting to the crime and displaying no physical signs he acted in self-defence, the teenager dodged jail and was handed five years of supervised probation.
It was a sentence his family – including Templet’s wife, Anthony’s stepmum Susan Templet – had pushed for, as the harrowing reason he pulled the trigger came to light.
Anthony had endured years of physical and mental abuse at the hands of his neglectful dad, having been snatched from his mum at the age of five and held hostage for over 10 years.
He didn’t go to school and was barely allowed to leave the house, with his dad having erected security cameras all around their home and put tracking apps on his phone.
Anthony’s shocking upbringing tale is laid bare in a new Netflix documentary, I Just Killed My Dad.
Now aged 20, he tells how he’d be “punched and thrown and kicked” during his dad’s fits of rage, and “sometimes it wouldn’t stop for hours”.
“He always wanted to know everything,” Anthony recalls. “I was always being tracked by something, whether it be a camera or mobile app.
“He wanted to be in control of everything, of me and the rest of the family in that house. I knew he was trying to control me.”
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Susan also fell victim to Templet’s warped surveillance operation. She explains: “Burt had an app on his phone – with every movement on a camera he’d get a text of what was going on.
“Every time I turned my car engine off, he’d get an alert that it was off.”
Pointing out the camera on their driveway, she continues: “If I parked here, he could know when I’d got home from the grocery store and how many bags I was carrying.”
Taught to write at 10 years old
Susan very much became a mother figure to Anthony, who was told by Templet that his biological mum Teresa Thompson was dead. He met Susan eight months after leaving her.
She taught Anthony his name, date of birth, address and phone number, as well as his “ABCs” when he was 10 years old, after Templet prevented him from going to school.
She says: “Anthony is my child. I don’t see him as a stepson.
“I see him as my child because I know he has nobody. He has nobody to stand behind him.”
“I made him write his ABCs over and over like punish work, and taught him addition, subtraction and multiplication.
“But when it got to division, his father told me not to teach him because he could just use a calculator.”
I see Anthony as my child because I know he has nobody. He has nobody to stand behind him
Susan and Templet discussed putting Anthony in school when he was 16, but at that point his shockingly low level of education would have put him in a class of eight to 10-year-olds.
Susan’s son Peyton describes the atmosphere the house had when Templet was in.
“You walked a fine line in there,” he says. “One minute the house is quiet, the next second the dishes are being thrown and screaming is going on.
“It was nothing but shoving and punching. He called me ‘fat ass,’ ‘a dumb motherf*****”, sometimes he would shove a Jenga box as hard as he could at my head.
“Very rarely was it anything other than hell living there.”
Susan adds: “The physical abuse would’ve been weekly, and the verbal abuse every other day.”
Susan finally decided to leave in March 2019, after a horrific incident in which Templet threatened to kill her. She reported it to the police.
She recalls: “The night before I left, we were lying in the bedroom and Burt punched me in the face, walked away from me, turned back around with the most satanic look in his eyes and said, ‘You have no idea what I’m capable of, little girl.’
“So the next morning I called a hotel and booked a room for two months.
“If I’d have tried to take Anthony, I’d be dead, because there would not have been a safe rock for me to hide under. I had no choice.”
Downing 24 cans of beer a day
That was the beginning of the end for Templet, who began drinking up to 24 cans of beer a day, according to Anthony.
“When Susan left, it destroyed him,” he says. “He started drinking more than normal and it heightened the abuse.
“I stayed in my room constantly, that’s all I wanted to do. I couldn’t really do much without upsetting him, so I’d just try to make myself as invisible as possible.”
With police frequently knocking on the door to serve him court papers, Templet kept loaded guns on him day and night, making Anthony hide whenever anyone came round.
It was do or die. I felt like my life was in danger and no one could help me
On June 3rd, Templet discovered his son had been speaking to Susan on the phone – despite being “forbidden” from doing so.
It escalated quickly, and ended with Anthony putting a bullet in his dad’s head.
Anthony recalls: “He got violent with me and lost it. He was on me. I locked the door on him.
“He was busting the door down, so I grabbed guns off the top shelf.
“I thought, this was the worst I’d ever seen him, and my life was really in danger. It had gotten to a point where it was so crazy, this was it for me.
“It was do or die. I felt like my life was in danger and no one could help me.”
Reunited with mum
On January 26th, 2021, Anthony’s lawyer Jarrett Ambeau managed to get him a plea deal instead of being prosecuted for manslaughter.
Anthony was released and ordered to obtain his high-school diploma and receive counselling as a condition of his probation deal.
He was also finally reunited with his birth mum Teresa, after he was released from custody.
Reflecting on the ordeal, Anthony says: “It’s very important to feel in control of your life.
“You get your freedom stripped from you in jail and I value it a little bit more now.
“I just want to live normally and be happy and move on.”