published Monday, July 9th, 2012

Insanity defense as Florida teen attack trial begins

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CURT ANDERSON

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The insanity defense takes center stage as the trial begins Monday for a Florida teenager accused in the brutal 2010 attack on a girl outside a middle school.

Defense lawyers say 17-year-old Wayne Treacy suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from his brother's recent suicide. Victim Josie Lou Ratley told Treacy in one of several rude text messages between them to go be with his dead brother.

Treacy faces a potential 50-year prison sentence if convicted of first-degree attempted murder for kicking and stomping Ratley outside Deerfield Beach Middle School. The attack caused permanent brain injuries.

Experts say insanity defenses rarely succeed because it's hard to convince jurors a defendant couldn't tell right from wrong. There's evidence Treacy carefully planned the attack.

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