Florida girl’s taunting texts triggered teen’s stomping attack

June 24th, 2010 by

Source: Miami Herald

It began with two teens trading text messages.

Messages flew back and forth between 15-year-old Josie Lou Ratley and 15-year-old Wayne Treacy Wednesday afternoon while she was in school and he was at home.

Until Ratley made a comment about Treacy’s brother, who had committed suicide.

Enraged, Treacy pulled on his steel-toe boots, bicycled over to Deerfield Beach Middle School and pummeled Ratley, kicking her in the head with his boots up to seven times.

“They never even spoke to each other,” BSO Sgt. Steve Feeley said of the moments leading up to the attack. “It was strictly based on text messages.”

Thursday, Ratley remained in critical condition at Broward General Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale. Treacy remained in custody, charged with premeditated attempted murder.

Another middle school student, 13-year-old Kayla Manson, also was in custody, facing a felony charge as an accessory because she knew about the planned attack and helped Treacy find Ratley.

The day began with Treacy trying to reach Manson, his ex-girlfriend.

Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti said Manson did not have a cellphone but had borrowed Ratley’s phone in the past. So he sent Ratley a text, trying to meet up with Manson.

But Ratley disapproved of the relationship, and she responded with a comment about that, Lamberti said.

A series of texts followed, back and forth between Ratley and Treacy. At one point, Manson saw them. Then Ratley sent a comment about the suicide of Treacy’s older brother last year.

Last October, on the day before Treacy’s 15th birthday, he found his older brother hanging from a tree, said his lawyer, assistant public defender Betsy Benson. Michael Bell, whom Benson described as Treacy’s “closest family member,” was 30.

Enraged at what Ratley had texted, Treacy put on his steel-toe boots and pedaled from his home in Pompano Beach to the middle school. He even sent other people text messages, saying he was going to kill her, BSO’s Feeley said.

About 2:45 p.m., he arrived at the middle school at 701 SE Sixth Ave., he met Manson and almost attacked someone else until he was told that wasn’t Ratley.

Manson then walked Treacy about 70 yards to where Ratley stood at the bus area on the school’s east side, Feeley said, and pointed her out as the one in the red shirt with the black backpack.

Treacy rushed over, knocked her to the ground and stood over her, banging her head onto the concrete at least five or six times, according to an arrest report. Then he stood over her and repeatedly kicked her in the head up to seven times with his steel-toe boots.

“He was kicking her in the head soccer style at that point,” Lamberti said.

A teacher saw the attack and pulled Treacy off Ratley, investigators said. Soon, a BSO school resource officer arrived.

Ratley was flown by helicopter to Broward General Medical Center, where she remained in critical condition on Thursday night.

Soon after the attack, deputies took Treacy into custody. Lamberti said that Treacy didn’t show remorse. “It seems we have a culture of callousness with our kids,” he said.

On Thursday, deputies took Manson into custody also. She is charged as an accomplice in the attack, a principal in the first degree, because she knew about it and helped Treacy locate Ratley.

The same afternoon, Treacy appeared before Broward Circuit Judge Elijah Williams, his fists closed by his side as Williams spoke.

Williams found probable cause to hold Treacy for attempted premeditated murder. The teen will be held in juvenile detention for 21 days as prosecutors determine whether to charge him as an adult.

Williams scheduled his next court appearance for March 26.

Assistant Public Defender Benson said Treacy has no arrest history and was a student in good standing at Deerfield Beach High School. “He was a good son,” she said.

Treacy’s mother, Donna Powers, wept silently but did not speak. His stepfather, Cary Smith, stood behind her and wrapped an arm around her protectively.

On Friday, Manson appeared in court, where a judge ordered the 13-year-old held for 21 days.

After the hearing, Manson’s lawyer spoke briefly. Jonathon Marne said that the two girls were best friends, and the family wished Ratley a speedy recovery. He also said that Manson “has never been in trouble with the law before.”

Wednesday’s attack took place at the same middle school where Michael Brewer was a student. Last October, Brewer was surrounded by a group of schoolmates, doused in rubbing alcohol and set ablaze. Brewer, burned over two-thirds of his body, survived the attack but continues undergoing physical therapy.

Three teens, also from the middle school, have been charged with second-degree attempted murder in that case.

One Response

  1. dave

    nice effing school

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