The adopted daughter of Tim Ferriter will be cross-examined Wednesday morning in her father’s child abuse trial.
Ferriter, 48, is accused of locking the girl’s teenage brother, who was also adopted, in a box-like structure in the garage of their Jupiter home.
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Ferriter’s oldest daughter testified for the state Tuesday how her dad was the disciplinarian of the household.
She testified that her brother had a room in the garage built for him and that he was the only one of the four children who was made to sleep there. She said he wasn’t allowed to be in the house by himself and wasn’t allowed to get food by himself, unlike her siblings.
During her testimony, which was conducted via Zoom in another courtroom to shield her from the cameras, the girl recalled how her brother’s punishment included doing yard work outside something her siblings weren’t made to do.
She went on to say that she didn’t see him very often around the house he was either outside or in the makeshift room in the garage and rarely ate with him during family meals.
During her opening statements, Assistant State Attorney Brianna Coakley told jurors how Ferriter’s son ran away from home in January 2022, leading Jupiter police to learn about how the then-14-year-old boy was living.
WATCH: Prosecutor says Tim Ferriter’s son didn’t have bedroom inside home
Prosecutor: Tim Ferriter’s son didn’t have bedroom in house
“There wasn’t a bedroom for him,” Coakley said. “There weren’t his items of clothes. There weren’t his toys inside of the house. Instead, there was a structure a small room, box-like structure that was constructed in the garage that didn’t have any windows. It had a box spring and a mattress, a bucket in the corner and a desk.”
Coakley explained to jurors how they would see video from a Ring camera that was placed in the corner of the box-like structure.
“The evidence is going to show that that room was not a room that he could come and go as he pleased,” she said. “He was locked inside from the outside over and over again.”
She also described how jurors would witness video showing the boy having to urinate in the bucket.
During her opening statements, Murad explained how the boy had been “engaging in dangerous behaviors” while the family was living in Arizona and they wanted to keep their toddler safe, so they decided to put a lock on the door of his room.
WATCH: Defense attorney says son had been ‘engaging in dangerous behaviors’
Defense attorney: Tim Ferriter’s son had been ‘engaging in dangerous behaviors’
“It was for the purpose of monitoring him when they couldn’t,” Murad told jurors. “Because, unfortunately, they’re in a situation where they cannot leave this child unattended. There has to be someone constantly watching him and they cannot do that as two working adults.”
Murad said they built a room for the boy in their garage in Arizona once the baby was born and constructed a similar room for him when they moved back to Jupiter.
“Both the room in Arizona and the one in Florida had one very big design flaw and that is that it did not include a bathroom,” she said.
Murad said the boy had been allowed to use the bathroom in the house during the day and used the bucket “a handful of times” during the night.
“This was not some big secret life like the state is presenting,” Murad said. “These people went to doctors. They went to therapists. The schools were emailing them back and forth about [the boy’s] behavior. They had family members and friends see the room in Arizona. In Florida, they were only here for about four weeks right before Christmas and then school started.”
Ferriter and his wife, Tracy Ferriter, were living in the upscale Jupiter neighborhood of Egret Landing when they were arrested in February 2022.
Jupiter police said the couple kept their teenage adopted son in an 8×8 box in their garage.
Tim and Tracy Ferriter are being tried separately. Tracy Ferriter’s trial has not yet been set, but she was seen sitting behind her husband during Tuesday’s testimony, at times appearing to hold back tears.
Testimony was scheduled to resume at 10 a.m.