Caretaker Accused of Abusing Autistic Man Appears in Court

A man accused of severely beating an autistic patient appeared in court on Monday morning to begin trial.

Michael Garritson, 50,  and 27-year-old Matthew McDuffie were caring for 23-year-old Jamie Oakley. Jamie is a man with severe autism who can't verbally communicate, has to wear a diaper and tends to injure himself when he's distressed.

Garritson and McDuffie were allegedly caught on camera beating Oakley while his family was overseas. Kimberly Oakley said a camera she used to monitor her son captured evidence that Garritson and McDuffie abused Jamie.

Oakley's attorneys told jurors on Monday that Jamie was dependent on others to care for him round the clock. Oakley testified that her son has severe autism and childlike behavior.

She also said the family typically has five caretakers at a time to care of Jamie. She says their purpose is to treat her son with respect, protect and keep him safe. Oakley also claimed Garritson's two sons also cared for Jaime.

Garritson's attorney said Garritson has 30 years of experience in the nursing business, but Jamie was the first autistic patient he ever cared for. His attorney claimed Garritson did not abuse Jamie, and also said Oakley deleted some portions of the video, leaving gaps.

Investigators in the case said they captured more than 2,000 images of abuse.

Garritson has pleaded not guilty to seven felony charges of abuse and his bail is currently placed at $200,000.

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