FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Attempted murder suspect Wayne Treacy is asking a Broward judge to set bail because he is legally too young to face a life sentence.
In a motion filed Thursday, Treacy's lawyer asked Broward Circuit Judge David Haimes to set a reasonable bond for the 15-year-old defendant accused of trying to kill teenager Josie Lou Ratley on March 17.
Treacy has been charged with first-degree attempted murder, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. Defendants in such cases are not legally entitled to bail. Treacy is in custody at the Broward Main Jail in Fort Lauderdale.
However, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in May that juveniles who do not commit murder cannot be sentenced to life terms without possibility of parole. Williams, seizing on that decision, is arguing that Treacy is no longer facing a life felony and, as such, has a right to ask for a reasonable bail.
Treacy admits bicycling three miles from his home to Deerfield Beach Middle School on March 17 to confront Ratley, 15, over a text message exchange in which she told him to "go visit" his dead brother. While he 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, pointed Ratley out at a campus bus stop, Treacy approached her and, without a word, beat her, knocked her to the ground and stomped on her head with his steel-toe boots.
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 October suicide.
Even if a judge were to grant bail, Williams concedes it would be difficult for his family to afford to post it.
Assistant State Attorney Maria Schneider said she still believes Treacy is not entitled to bail and is prepared to argue that the severity of the crime, and its legal classification as a life felony under Florida law, has not changed just because the maximum penalty has been invalidated.
Haimes will hear arguments from both sides on July 1.
Ratley was hospitalized for six weeks after the attack, spending much of that time in a medically induced coma. She was then released to a rehabilitation facility and is now recovering at home. Doctors have said she suffers brain damage and she is still relearning basic skills.
Numerous groups and individuals have held fundraisers to help pay for Ratley's medical and living expenses. The next one, "Let's Break the Cycle: A Ride for Josie," is scheduled for this Sunday, June 27. Bicyclists who participate can choose a 33-mile or a 65-mile course starting at The Cove restaurant, 1756 SE Third Court in Deerfield Beach.
Anyone interested in participating should call 954-481-9800
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