FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Wayne Treacy, 15, charged with attempted first-degree murder in the savage attack on a teenage girl, had his request to be freed on bond refused Thursday by a Broward judge.
Treacy's lawyer contended that a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision barring a life term for juveniles accused of all crimes short of murder meant Treacy was entitled to be released on bond.
State prosecutor Maria Schneider said the offense Treacy is charged with is so severe he must be kept locked up until trial.
Circuit Judge David Haimes came down on Schneider's side. "Quite frankly I think it's close, but I do agree with the state," he said in his ruling.
Treacy's stepfather stormed out of the courtroom. Treacy himself stared into the distance. The boy's lawyer said he would appeal.
Treacy is charged as an adult in the March 17 beating of teenager Josie Lou Ratley and has been held at the Broward Main Jail without bail since he was transferred from juvenile detention in April.
At the time he was arrested, Treacy's first-degree attempted murder charge carried a maximum penalty of life in prison, and defendants in such cases are not legally entitled to bail.
However, the Supreme Court ruled in May that juveniles who do not commit murder cannot be sentenced to life terms without the possibility of parole.
Attorney Russell Williams, seizing on that decision, argued that since Treacy no longer faces a life sentence, he is entitled to reasonable bail.
Haimes rejected his argument. The upshot of the judge's ruling is that Treacy will go back to jail until trial, barring a reversal by the 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach.
Treacy admits to bicycling three miles from his home to Deerfield Beach Middle School to confront Ratley, 15, after a contentious text message exchange that resulted in a message from her phone that told him to "go visit" his dead brother, who committed suicide.
While Treacy denies intending to harm her physically, he sent text messages to two friends threatening to kill Ratley once he caught up with her.
When another friend, Kayla Manson, 13, pointed Ratley out at a campus bus stop, Treacy approached the 15-year-old, knocked her to the ground and stomped on her head with his steel-toe boots. Manson, who is charged as an accomplice, says she did not know Treacy would become violent.
Williams has said he is preparing an insanity defense for his client, who, according to a court-appointed psychologist, suffers from post traumatic stress disorder as a result of his older brother's suicide in October.
Ratley was hospitalized for six weeks after the attack, spending much of that time in a medically induced coma. She now is recovering at home. Doctors have said she suffers brain damage and must relearn basic skills.
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