Judge severs cases of couple accused of keeping child in a box

Posted at 11:18 AM, August 31, 2023


WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (Court TV) — At a motion hearing Thursday morning, a judge agreed to sever the cases of Tim and Tracy Ferriter, who are accused of abusing their 13-year-old son by forcing him to live in an 8×8 box in their garage.

mugshots of Tim and Tracey Ferriter

(L) Timothy Ferriter, (R) Tracy Ferriter (Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office)

As the hearing began, the prosecution said it had no objection to Tim Ferriter’s motion to sever his case from his wife, Tracy. Tim wanted the cases severed, arguing he could not get a fair trial because of lies his wife allegedly made to investigators.

Tracy Ferriter spoke to Child Protective Services and Jupiter Police Department officers about a week before the couple’s arrests. In the motion, the defense points out that Tim was not in the country when Tracy spoke to the authorities and had nothing to do with her inconsistent statements. Tracy told CPS and JPD that the box was not where the child lived but where he was put in “time out” and that he shared a room with another one of their kids. Video evidence showed those statements were not true.

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With the two cases severed, the Court asked which case would be ready for trial first. His attorney said that Tim’s trial would likely proceed to a jury before Tracy’s.

After resolving the motion to sever the cases, the judge sustained the state’s objection to a defense subpoena for the victim’s medical records. The Ferriters have asked for access to the victim’s psychotherapist records from facilities where he has been treated since his parents’ arrest. Prosecutors cited the victim’s right to privacy and the lack of specificity in the motion, accusing the defense of going on a fishing expedition looking for information. While the judge sided with the state in sustaining the objection, he did so without prejudice, allowing the defense to bring the motion back with further evidence.

Another motion pending with the court addresses prior allegations in Arizona. Prosecutors intend to offer evidence from before the family moved to Florida, including evidence of alleged neglect, abuse, and confinement. That motion will be heard at a hearing scheduled for Thursday, September 14.