Wayne Treacy will be tried as an adult on a charge of trying to murder Deerfield Beach Middle School student Josie Lou Ratley in a vicious beating at a school bus stop last month, prosecutors said Friday.
Treacy, 15, was formally charged Friday with premeditated attempted murder in the March 17 attack and will be arraigned Saturday, said Assistant State Attorney Maria Schneider. He is being moved from a juvenile detention center to a Broward County jail.
The decision comes as no surprise to Treacy's lawyer, Russell Williams, who said two days earlier that he did not expect his client's case to remain in the juvenile court system.
Treacy faces a maximum of life in prison if convicted.
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Earlier Friday, Kayla Manson, the 13-year-old girl charged as an accomplice in the attack, was charged as a juvenile and released from custody.
Her lawyer, Daniel Callahan, declined to discuss the case against Manson, who is accused of pointing Ratley out to Treacy. Prosecutors said Treacy went on to beat Ratley and repeatedly kick her in the head with steel-toed boots.
"The only thing we want to convey on behalf of her and her family is our deepest sympathy and prayers for Josie," Callahan said.
Manson formally pleaded not guilty to a charge of principal to attempted murder on Friday.
Prosecutors said she is too young under Florida law to be charged as an adult for anything less than a capital crime. In this case, that could only happen if Ratley does not survive.
Ratley, 15, had been in a medically induced coma at Broward General Medical Center. She recently regained consciousness but has suffered brain damage. She is unable to speak.
Her mother, Hilda Gotay, is "putting her trust in God and … confident that the criminal justice system will make sure that Treacy gets what he deserves," said her lawyer, Rick Freedman.
Authorities said Treacy was incensed by a text message sent from Ratley's cell phone.
Williams admits his client's role in the incident, and Treacy's parents have apologized to the Ratley family on national television. They said Treacy snapped when he received a text message referring to his brother, who committed suicide last October, and they want him examined by mental health experts.
Staff writer Tonya Alanez contributed to this report.
Rafael Olmeda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 954-356-4694.