FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Closing arguments finished late Friday afternoon in the case of Wayne Treacy, the teen charged in the savage attack on Josie Lou Ratley two years ago which left her with permanent brain damage.
Treacy attacked Ratley on March 17th, 2010 at the bus stop in front of Deerfield Beach Middle School after a heated exchange of text messages. Both were 15-years old at the time.
“Her life changed forever because of the viciousness of this young man, Wayne Treacy,” stated prosecutor Maria Schneider during her closing arguments.
Prosecutors point the finger of blame squarely at Treacy who’s on trial for attempted murder. Two years ago, he kicked and stomped Josie Lou Ratley’s head while wearing steel toed boots.
“What do you think steel toed boots do to a brain? If experiencing trauma can make a difference forever what do you think being kicked, stomped, having your head bashed into the ground repeatedly does to your brain?” said Schneider.
Treacy does not deny that he did it. He claims he was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder brought on by seeing his brother’s body hanging from a tree when he committed suicide 5 months earlier. He said he went into a rage after a heated text message exchange with Josie Ratley and that it boiled over when Ratley brought up his dead brother.
“There are millions and millions and millions of people who suffer mental illness and they don’t kill people, they don’t try to kill people,” emphasized Schneider.
Treacy’s attorneys argued his mental illness was so acute that he was legally insane and not only did he suffer from PTSD, but when the attack happened, he didn’t even remember it until someone told him afterwards.
Alexander Neumeister, a psychologist who testified for the defense, said Treacy was in a dissociative state and had no idea what he was doing and even had amnesia.
During his closing argument, defense attorney Kenneth Russell reiterated that point.
“By definition if somebody dissociates, then they are mentally ill and if they do a criminal act at that time, they would be insane because it’s an altered state of consciousness,” said Russell. “Don’t be afraid by public opinion or public perception to come back with a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity, don’t be afraid that by doing that, there is nobody accountable for Josie Ratley’s injuries.”
Treacy, now 17, has admitted that he rode a bike to the school to confront Ratley after receiving a text message from her phone telling him to “go visit” his dead brother. Ratley was apparently angry that Treacy was going out with her friend, Kayla Manson, who was years younger than him.
“Stop texting my phone rapist, and if you don’t care, just stop trying me, k? and just go visit your dead brother,” Ratley texted Treacy.
The jury is expected to begin deliberations on Monday.
Treacy has pleaded not guilty to the charged of attempted first degree murder. If convicted he could be sentenced to up to 50 years in prison.