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Jury selection starts for Jupiter father accused of locking son in box

Timothy Ferriter, 48, and wife Tracy Ferriter, 47, facing new child neglect charge
Tim Ferriter in court on first day of jury selection, Sept. 29, 2023
Posted at 6:33 AM, Sep 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-29 19:12:09-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Jury selection began Friday in the trial of a Jupiter man who's accused of locking his adopted son in a box for hours at a time.

Tim Ferriter, 48, and his wife, Tracy Ferriter, 47, are charged with aggravated child abuse and false imprisonment. They are now also facing a new charge of child neglect.

Timothy and Tracy Ferriter arrest photos
Timothy and Tracy Ferriter are accused of keeping their adopted 14-year-old son locked in a box in the family's garage.

The allegations came to light in February 2022 in the upscale Jupiter neighborhood of Egret Landing.

The Ferriters are accused of keeping their then-14-year-old adopted son in an 8x8 box in their garage.

Jupiter police said the box had a mattress, camera and bucket that was used as a restroom, and the boy was only allowed out to go to school. The couple was eventually arrested when the teen ran away.

Egret Landing at Jupiter sign at night
The sign welcoming residents and visitors to Egret Landing at Jupiter is illuminated at night, Feb. 8, 2022, in Jupiter, Fla.

Jury selection in Tim Ferriter's trial started Friday with Judge Howard Coates bringing in 100 potential jurors.

Coates said one still photographer and one television camera will be allowed in the courtroom and will be allowed to photograph jurors. Coates added that if there is enough pushback from 20 or more jurors regarding being recorded, he will hold a special hearing to decide how to proceed.

By the conclusion of Friday's jury selection, six prospective jurors expressed concern about being photographed or recorded. They were given a questionnaire and sent home.

Tim Ferriter stands with his attorneys on first day of jury selection, Sept. 29, 2023
Tim Ferriter stands next to his defense attorneys on the first day of jury selection in his trial, Sept. 29, 2023, at the Palm Beach County Courthouse in downtown West Palm Beach, Fla.

In a pretrial hearing Tuesday, Tim Ferriter rejected a plea deal by the state that would have resulted in 24 months in prison and five years of probation. He now faces 40 years and possibly more.

Defense attorney Prya Murad contends the child was "a medically complex child" and the alleged box was "a room" used for monitoring.

The defense intends to show a pattern of troubled behavior, which at the onset of the case showed "dangerous and disturbing propensities," including attachment disorders.

The Department of Children and Families removed the child and three other children from the home.

Jury selection was scheduled to continue Monday.

A trial date has not yet been set for Tracy Ferriter.