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08-21-09, 07:59 PM #1
Man rescued wife and child from fire only to murder his wife a month later
Michael Ratley was known as a hero.
In December 2006, Ratley carried his 2-week-old son, Aiden, and his wife, Effie Ratley, 29, from the flames as fire engulfed their Bryceville, Florida, trailer.
Days after the fire, a teary-eyed Ratley told local media that love drove him to save their lives. "I might have lost everything physical, but I've still got my two most precious things," Michael Ratley told CNN affiliate WJXT-TV at the time.
A month later, Effie Ratley was dead, bludgeoned with a hammer in a bedroom of her in-laws' home, not far from the trailer's ashes on a dirt road marked only with a black arrow on a wooden sign.
The man who was hailed as a hero for saving his wife was convicted in July of murdering her.
On Tuesday, a Nassau County Court jury in Yulee, Florida, said he should spend the rest of his life in prison for the crime. Circuit Judge Robert Foster sentenced the 25-year-old to life without possibility of parole.
What changed a heroic husband into a hammer-wielding wife killer? Video Hero gets life for murder »
During the trial, no motive was offered.
On January 27, 2007, with his parents downstairs watching TV with the door shut and his infant son in the other room, prosecutors said, Ratley put on a pair of thick black gloves, grabbed a heavy-duty hammer and went into the bedroom where his wife was lying down after taking some medication. He lifted the hammer and "savagely and brutally beat her on the head over and over" -- at least seven times, said Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda.
During the trial, Ratley said he had nothing to do with the slaying. His defense lawyers argued that an intruder, who Ratley alleged attacked him in the barn the night before, was the culprit. But prosecutors said that was part of Ratley's plan, setting up for a scenario in which an intruder killed his wife by cutting the wire on their window.
By Mallory Simon
More here: Man goes from heroic husband to hammer-wielding wife killer - CNN.com
08-22-09, 07:10 AM #2
I wonder if he set the original fire?
08-22-09, 07:42 AM #3
Maybe..could be he set the fire so he could rescue them so that when he murdered her a month later he think no one would suspect him. Talk about pre-meditated.
Gee and aint love and marriage grand?Never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way" ~Martin Luther King, Jr
08-22-09, 10:25 AM #4
Seems like he could have saved himself numerous gang-stlye prison rapes by just leaving her in the trailer and saying it was just too hot to get her...I'm not ruining your life, you are, and I'm just going to write a short story about it.
08-22-09, 10:25 AM #5
....oh well, say hello to Bubba and the gang.I'm not ruining your life, you are, and I'm just going to write a short story about it.
08-22-09, 12:18 PM #6
seems like I've seen his defense tactic somewhere before...
oh yeah "It wasn't me - it was the one-armed man"...
guess he figured it worked for Dr. Kimble - why not try it in real life scenario...-=Twan007
Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.
Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious.
The opinions expressed by this poster are wholly his own, and should never be construed to even remotely be in alignment with his employer. Matter of fact, the poster will deny any knowledge of any post... this message will self-destruct in 5 seconds...
08-23-09, 06:38 AM #7
My theory is that he wanted to kill the wife and not the baby, and when the trailer was on fire the baby was inside and he couldn't rescue just the baby without it looking suspicious. I may well be wrong, but it seems to fit.
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