Broward County

Prosecutor agrees to 50-year cap for Treacy sentence

The prosecutor in the case of a 16-year-old boy accused of nearly stomping to death a Deerfield Middle School student agreed Thursday to cap his maximum sentence at 50 years.

It was Wayne Treacy's first court hearing since August, and little has been done on the case since then.

"Zero depositions have been scheduled since the last time we were in court," prosecutor Maria Schneider said. "We're exactly where we were in August."

Treacy is charged as an adult in the March 17 beating of Josie Lou Ratley, who is said to have provoked his anger with a callous text message exchange about the suicide of Treacy's older brother.

Ratley, now 16, was left brain damaged. She is continuing her rehabilitation at home.

Treacy is charged as an adult with attempted murder, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

But in May, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that anyone under 18 who commits a non-homicidal offense cannot be sent to prison for life without the possibility of parole.

If no one has been killed, it is cruel and unusual punishment to give young criminals a life term with no chance of parole, the nation's highest court ruled in a 6-3 decision.

Florida eliminated parole for non-homicide offenses in 1983.

Treacy's defense attorney, Russell Williams, said that because of the Supreme Court ruling, he has not been able to advise his client as to what maximum sentence he faces.

Schneider said: "I'd be happy to agree to a cap if that's the hold up in this case and reason we've had no depositions."

She agreed to 50 years.

Broward Circuit Judge David Haimes set Treacy's next court hearing for March 31 and urged the attorneys to prepare the case for trial.

Williams said he'll be attending depositions scheduled for next week.

Last month Treacy sued the Broward School Board and the Broward Sheriff's Office, claiming he's been shortchanged educationally as he sits in jail.

The lawsuit, filed Dec. 1, contends that Treacy is getting less than five hours a week of school instruction as he awaits trial.

According to school district records, he's getting 28.3 hours a week.

Before his arrest, Treacy was enrolled in the high-level International Baccalaureate program at Deerfield Beach High School.

Tonya Alanez can be reached at or 954-356-4542.