Testimony begins in trial of caretaker accused of abuse - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Testimony begins in trial of caretaker accused of abuse

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VISTA (CNS) - Testimony got underway Monday in the trial of a North County caretaker who, along with another man, was allegedly caught on surveillance video abusing a 23-year-old severely autistic man for whom they were hired to care.

Michael Dale Garritson, 62, has pleaded not guilty to multiple felony charges of willful cruelty to a dependent adult. Co-defendant Matthew Alexander McDuffie, 28, also pleaded not guilty to the same charges but is to be tried separately.

The men each face nine years in prison if convicted in their respective trials, according to Deputy District Attorney Natalie Villaflor.

The victim's mother was the first witness on the stand Monday.

Garritson, a licensed registered nurse, and McDuffie, a medical assistant, worked for the victim's family in Valley Center for more than two years, according to San Diego County sheriff's Sgt. Mark Varnau.

They were taken into custody Sept. 19 after the victim's family handed investigators more than 2,000 individual video recordings of the alleged abuse of Jamie Oakley, he said.

Over a three-week period in August, the family set up a surveillance video system in the victim's bedroom. The victim is severely autistic and does not speak, Varnau said.

The alleged abuse included slapping, kicking and punching. It was unclear whether any permanent damage was done to Oakley, who was 23 at the time.

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