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."
Investigators: Evidence Points to Planned Attack on Florida Girl
Investigators have still not recovered exactly what Ratley texted about Treacy's brother.
They tried asking Treacy during his confession what she said to make him so angry, prompting him by saying, "It had to be pretty bad for you to get so angry."
"It wasn't bad," Treacy replied. "It's just -- I mean it's my dead brother."
Treacy said he was also mad because Ratley allegedly called him a "rapist" for his relationship with his 13-year-old girlfriend
Detectives said Treacy's attack on Ratley was planned in advance and that he had sent text messages to a friend about his plans.
"This bxtch ran her mouth bout my bro who she knew is dead. Now I want her head," one of the messages read.
School surveillance cameras captured Treacy on campus just before the assault weaning a black hat and protective gloves.
And after the attack, this text message was sent from Treacy's phone: " I just tried to kill sum1. I'm going to prison."
Ratley's family said they have not watched the tape of Treacy's confession, preferring instead to focus solely on Ratley's recovery.