A San Diego registered nurse was convicted Monday of abusing an autistic patient while in his care.
Suspicious parents planted a video recorder, catching not one but several instances of mistreatment which a Vista judge found had reached the level of two felonies.
The video is graphic and difficult to watch.
It captures Jamie Oakley, 24, repeatedly having his hair pulled, arms twisted and eyes gouged by registered nurse, Michael Dale Garritson who had the responsibility of caring for him for nearly two years.
“The thought of how long this was going on gives me nightmares,” said Jamie’s mother Kim Oakley
Jamie suffers severe autism, he has epileptic seizures even injures himself when under stress. He's defenseless. Jamie can't even speak to tell his mother Kim what was happening to him.
“I can't really describe the love I have for him it's so protective like a wounded bird,” said Kim Oakley.
Last July Kim noticed the baby monitor in Jamie's room was tampered with. Suspicious, she replaced it with a hidden camera before traveling to Europe to see her grandchildren.
“Something is not right somebody doesn't want to be watched,” she said..
Her intuition was proved correct when she found some 2000 images of her son's arms twisted, hair pulled and eyes gouged.
“What I see in that video is so horrific and so cruel and so deliberate and repeated over and over again,” she said.
Garritson, 62, was convicted of willful cruelty and abuse. His nursing days are over and instead could spend the next eight years behind bars.
Oakley is relieved but from here she and Jamie begin an uphill journey toward trust and security.
“I've made it a habit ever since to tell him ‘We love you, you're safe, no will hurt you, no one will hurt you again,’” she said. “We're going to make sure they don't.”
Judge Blaine Bowman ordered Garritson held without bail until his sentencing on May 20.
A second caregiver, 28-year-old Matthew McDuffie, is facing similar charges. Jury selection in that case begins Tuesday.