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Jupiter couple fights to get evidence thrown out in child abuse case

Timothy and Tracy Ferriter appear in a Palm Beach County courtroom on April 13, 2022.jpg
Posted at 3:41 PM, Apr 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-13 18:40:01-04

JUPITER, Fla. — A Jupiter couple accused of locking their teenage son in a box for hours at a time appeared in court Wednesday with their lawyers, who are trying to get evidence thrown out and a prosecuting attorney removed from the case.

Inside the courtroom, Timothy and Tracy Ferriter sat side-by-side, holding hands as Judge Howard Coates heard from their attorney.

The couple is under arrest for false imprisonment and aggravated child abuse after investigators said they kept their 14-year-old adopted son locked up in a box inside their garage.

While in court Wednesday, the Ferriter's lawyer, Nellie King, tried to get potential evidence thrown out.

"It’s the fact that they unlawfully obtained it through one of the witnesses, who is a kid," King said.

The evidence in question was a minute-long video of the parents' search history. King claims her clients email account was hacked by at least one of their own children, who then sent the video to officials with the Florida Department of Children and Families and a lawyer with the Foster Children's/ Legal Aide Project.

"If you watch the video, they scroll through the same searches that seem to be of importance," King said. "For the person who's obtaining this over and over again and then highlighting them."

The defense also asked to have that Foster Children's Project lawyer removed from the case, an issue that Judge Coates said should be taken up in dependency court instead of criminal court.

"You're asking to suppress something for the state to use that they don’t have, that they have never seen, takes me back to what I said at the beginning. This seems premature to me," Coates said.

In the end, Coates denied the defense's motions, citing the defense was unable to prove the children were told to hack their parents' computers.

"At this stage, you haven't been able to tie that link or connect the dots," Coates said.

Both the state and defense are due back in court on April 27.