FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., July 10 (UPI) -- A Florida youth's lawyer says the teenager was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder when he beat another teen nearly to death.
Wayne Treacy, 17, went on trial Monday in the March 17, 2010, beating of Josie Lou Ratley for sending him an insulting text message about his brother, who had committed suicide.
Prosecutor Maria Schneider described to listeners in a Broward County courtroom in Fort Lauderdale the nearly fatal beating of the Deerfield Beach, drawing tears from the girl's mother and the defendant, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Monday.
The first-degree attempted murder trial opened Monday with little argument as Schneider presented the part of the case no one is disputing.
Treacy admitted he beat Ratley, then 15, nearly to death. He is accused of tracking Ratley down at Deerfield Beach Middle School, throwing her to the ground, slamming her head against the concrete and stomping on her until a teacher tackled him.
"The defense does not dispute what happened," said Treacy's lawyer, Russell Williams, said in his opening statement.
What is in dispute, he said, is whether Treacy was legally sane and criminally responsible for his actions when the attack took place. Williams is asserting Treacy suffered from PTSD after finding his brother's hanged body in October 2009.
The text exchange with Ratley pushed Treacy into a dissociative state during which he could not tell right from wrong, so he was not criminally responsible for his actions, Williams said during his opening statement, adding he would call psychologists to testify about Treacy's mental health.
Schneider told Broward Circuit Judge David Haimes she doesn't plan to introduce the recording of Treacy's interrogation even though he admits he biked to Ratley's school to confront her.
Williams wants Haimes to allow the defense to introduce the recording, arguing it was part of the basis for psychologists' evaluation of his client.
Ratley suffered brain damage in the attack and doesn't remember the incident.
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