Defense lawyers plan to file a motion to dismiss indictments against four people accused of ritualistically torturing a Tracy teenager for more than a year.
San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Terence Van Oss made the announcement as the four defendants appeared in a Stockton courtroom Thursday. Caren Ramirez, Michael Luther Schumacher and his wife, Kelly Layne Lau, and their neighbor Anthony Waiters have been charged with kidnap and torture in the case and face life in prison if convicted. All four have pleaded not guilty.
The youth, now 16, has been identified by authorities only as "Kyle Doe." He has testified that during his captivity at the Tracy home, he slept on his knees chained to a fireplace grate with his hands lashed behind his back, stole scraps of food to survive, suffered regular beatings with a baseball bat, and screamed as his tormentors burned him with chemicals and sliced him with a knife.
The youth broke free of his chains one afternoon in December. He burst through the back door, bounced on a trampoline in the yard to clear a wall and ran to a nearby health club, begging for help.
It all happened, witnesses said, in a rented home on a residential street where neighbors baby-sat one another's children, shared summer barbecues, and walked back and forth to schools and playgrounds with their children.