By GRACE WONG
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (Court TV) — Tim Ferriter is expected to inform the judge Wednesday morning if he intends to take the witness stand in his own defense. Should he decline to testify, the defense will rest and the jury will hear closing arguments.
Ferriter is charged with child abuse and false imprisonment and faces up to 40 years in prison if he is convicted.
Jurors saw a different side to Ferriter than was depicted in Friday’s marathon of video clips, in which prosecutors showed Tim and his wife Tracy locking up their adopted son RF in a garage enclosure with no window or bathroom every night until he was let out in the morning for school.
In contrast, Ferriter’s defense showed videos from late December to mid-January 2022 which showed Tim hanging out with RF; the two were watching a football game and discussing it together. RF was seen in these videos snacking frequently and coming and going through the house. Defense videos showed the family spending time together and interacting with ease and familiarity. The defendant’s sons were seen frequently playing together and showing affection for each other.
Being able to engage with his family outside of his garage room did not amount to solitary confinement, said Sheila Rapa, a forensic psychologist who testified for the defense. The state’s expert, Dr. Wade Myers, testified that the Ferriter’s confinement of RF was potentially harmful and would only have exacerbated his behavioral problems.
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Rapa agreed and opined that confining RF to the garage would not have been recommended treatment by any mainstream health professional, however, the Ferriters meant no harm to their child.
“I don’t believe that they were malicious insofar as they were deliberately trying to abuse and hurt their child,” Rapa stated. “I think they were responding to behaviors that they were very concerned about, and they were trying to contain and monitor and make sure that nothing’s going to happen.”
Rapa went on to testify that confining RF in the manner that they did, was not appropriate. Even though she agreed with the things that Ferriter said to his son when he was lecturing him, she disapproved of the tone he used.
Rapa said that RF exhibited symptoms of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), such as lying, aggression and hoarding food, before the Ferriters began confining him in a cell-like room. The psychologist testified that his behavior caused his parents to want to exert more control over what they perceived as out-of-control behavior. She opined that it was a very common reaction by parents, that the discipline was not arbitrary and that it was always in response to his misbehavior.