Heller said the episode built up like a wave inside of Treacy, until it crested with the violence against Ratley.
Treacy broadcast his intentions with multiple text messages to Ratley and his friends.
But Heller said Treacy was simply “venting” and he never intended to physically hurt Ratley.
“He did not plan for this,’’ Heller said.
Schneider questioned Heller on the arc of Treacy’s alleged episode, asking if the boy had been insane when he sent the text messages threatening to “strangle the life” out of Ratley and kill her, or if he had been insane when he put on a pair of black fighting gloves and steel-toed boots and rode his bicycle to go find Ratley, or if he had been insane when he waited for her at Deerfield Middle School.
The legal definition of insanity in Florida is that because of a mental disorder, a defendant does not know what he is doing, or does not know that what he is doing is wrong.
“Was he legally insane?’’ Schneider asked Heller of Treacy.
“Exactly at that moment, I’m not sure,’’ Heller said. “But I know that at the moment of the crime, he was.’’
Schneider also questioned how Heller could label Treacy’s threats as “venting” when they preceded a savage beating that nearly killed Ratley.
She accused Heller of dismissing Treacy’s threats as “venting,’’ yet believing the boy’s claims that he could not recall the attack.
Still, Heller insisted that Treacy truly was mentally anguished, and said he had been placed on suicide watch at least four times since his incarceration immediately following the attack. But Schneider rebuffed the assertion.
Leading up to the opening of Treacy’s defense, Schneider had presented a witness who testified that someone using Treacy’s computer profile had searched Google the night before the attack using the terms “how to commit murder” and “how to kill someone.’’
Jeanne Burtnett, a computer forensic technician for the Broward Sheriff’s Office, said she examined Treacy’s home computer and found the online searches had taken place at three separate times between 10 and 10:15 p.m. on March 16, 2010.
Treacy’s defense attorneys had moved to exclude that information from the trial because, they said, it would confuse jurors, and because it was irrelevant to the case. But Schneider argued that the searches would prove Treacy’s predisposition to commit murder.
Broward Circuit Judge David A. Haimes ruled that the jury can hear the evidence.
Prosecutors rested their case without ever calling Ratley to the witness stand.
Russell Williams, Treacy’s defense attorney, said he expects to call additional medical experts to testify in Treacy’s defense on Thursday.
It is unknown whether Treacy will take the stand in his own defense. If convicted of attempted first-degree murder, Treacy faces a potential 50-year prison sentence.