FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Guilty.
A jury has convicted Wayne Treacy of attempted first degree murder with a deadly weapon in the near fatal beating of Josie Lou Ratley two years ago which left her with permanent brain damage.
With a blank stare on his face, Treacy was cuffed right after the guilty verdict was read.
“I think he’s kind of shocked,” said Treacy’s lawyer Russell Williams.
“On behalf of Josie and her family, we want to thank the jury for seeing the truth and doing justice. It is not a day to rejoice, however. This is a tragedy for all involved. Thank you to the jury for having the courage to make the right decision. It is one more step on the road to moving on with our lives as best we can. Thank you to Maria Schneider for her hard work, compassion and dedication,” said attorney Sean Domnick who represents the Ratley family.
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. Treacy kicked and stomped Josie Lou Ratley’s head while wearing steel toed boots. Both were 15-years old at the time.
“I’m satisfied because justice was done but this is one of those cases where it’s very difficult to be joyful under any circumstances when you have a young lady whose life will never be the same and will never be normal and a young man who has some serious issues and who clearly is facing very significant and very serious sentence,” said prosecutor Maria Schneider.
Treacy never denied he 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 Ratley boiled over when she brought up his dead brother.
Treacy’s attorneys had 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.
Treacy was silent when the verdict was read and appeared stunned. Williams said what the jury did not see could have totally changed this case. The video, which was disallowed by the judge, showed Treacy sobbing as he spoke to investigators.
“You could see him saying ‘I don’t remember what happened, I blanked out”, it tells you what his intent was, he said, ‘I only went to yell at her. I don’t know what happened. When I heard ‘red shirt’ I blanked out’.”
Schneider calls this victory a very somber one because no matter the outcome two teens lives are ruined. She just hopes other can learn from it.
“I don’t think that’s very much good that can come of this but at least I would hope that that message goes out loud and clear to any young person who is considering taking matters into their own hands,” said Scneider. “I hope they realize that because they’re angry, because they’re upset, because they have issues, it’s never okay to take things in their own hands and to act in this way. We are all, as human beings, accountable to our actions.”
Treacy faces up to 50 years in prison when he’s sentenced.