FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida teenager was not insane and knew the consequences of his actions when he nearly killed a 15-year-old girl by savagely kicking and stomped her head outside a school, a prosecutor told jurors Friday as an attempted murder trial drew to a close.
In a closing argument, Assistant State Attorney Maria Schneider said Wayne Treacy's careful planning of the attack and messages beforehand to friends about going to jail for killing someone show that he knew what he was doing. Experts testified that Tracy suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder because of his brother's suicide, but Schneider said that illness alone was not enough.
"Is there something wrong with Wayne Treacy? Yes, there has to be. But that is not what the law finds as an excuse," Schneider said. "Despite any mental illness they want you to focus on, he is legally and morally responsible for his actions."
Treacy, 17, faces a maximum 50-year prison sentence if convicted of attempted first-degree murder in the March 2010 attack on Josie Lou Ratley, who suffered permanent brain injuries. The defense is seeking acquittal by reason of insanity. Jurors are scheduled to begin deliberations Monday.
The attack happened at the Deerfield Beach Middle School bus loop after an escalating series of insulting and taunting text messages between Treacy and Ratley. Treacy began making death threats against Ratley within a few minutes, phone records show, then became fully enraged when she sent one telling Treacy to "go visit your dead brother."
"Watch how much you laugh when I strangle the life out of you. You said the wrong thing to the wrong person," Treacy said in one text.
Defense psychiatrists testified that Treacy was pushed by the text about the brother into an altered state of consciousness called "dissociation" in which he wasn't aware of or able to control his actions. Treacy was 15 when he witnessed his brother's suicide by hanging himself with an orange extension cord from a churchyard tree.