Florida Teen Accused in Savage Beating Says Rage Was Uncontrollable

Josie Lou Ratley, 15, has brain damage as a result of beating.

ByABC News via logo
May 20, 2010, 10:25 PM

May 21, 2010 -- A Florida teenager accused of savagely beating a 15-year-old girl into a coma said it was her comments about his dead brother, sent via text message, that set off his rage.

Investigators have pointed to the text message as a motive since shortly after the March beating, but a videotaped confession released recently by authorities shows 15-year-old Wayne Treacy confirming that once he got the message, he could no longer control his rage.

"I just remember she said something about my dead brother, and that really set me off," Treacy said.

Treacy is accused of attempted first-degree murder for punching Josie Lou Ratley in the head, and then smashing her head into the pavement and kicking her with a steel-toed boot.

Ratley suffered brain damage in the attack and, for a time, was kept in a medically induced coma. She has been either in the hospital or rehab facility since the attack.

Despite the videotaped confession, Treacy has pleaded not guilty.

Investigators have said the two were text messaging about Treacy's 13-year-old girlfriend when Ratley mentioned Treacy's older brother, who killed himself a year ago. Treacy found his brother hanging from a tree outside a church.

"Usually when I get angry it just goes away," Treacy said in the videotaped confession, "'cause I can just vent and stuff. But I don't know. I couldn't get the feeling to subside."

Treacy's attorney said the video shows a teen suffering the effects of a traumatic situation.

Ratley's mother, Hilda Gotay, said her daughter is recovering "very slowly."

"We're trying to teach her how to read, how to dress herself," Gotay said. "There are still things she doesn't' know how to do."