Testimony begins in case of abused autistic man

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VISTA, Calif. — Testimony got underway Thursday in the trial of a caregiver allegedly caught on video abusing a severely autistic 23-year-old man under his care in Valley Center.

Surveillance video allegedly shows caregivers abusing a 28-year-old autistic man.

Surveillance video allegedly shows caregivers abusing a 28-year-old autistic man.

Matthew Alexander McDuffie, 28, is charged with multiple felony counts of willful cruelty to a dependent adult.

After opening statements were delivered, prosecutor Natalie Villaflor began laying out the case against McDuffie.

Testimony will resume Monday morning.

Another man, Michael Dale Garritson, a 62-year-old registered nurse, was convicted Monday in a separate trial of two felony counts of willful cruelty to a dependent adult likely to cause great bodily injury.

Garritson also was convicted of four misdemeanor counts and acquitted on a seventh count. He faces up to eight years in prison when he is sentenced May 20.

Both men worked for the victim’s family for more than two years, according to San Diego County sheriff’s Sgt. Mark Varnau.

They were taken into custody last September after the victim’s mother, Kim Oakley, gave investigators more than 2,000 individual video recordings of the defendants allegedly abusing her 23-year-old son Jamey, the sergeant said.

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

Prosecutors said the abuse included poking the victim’s eyes, bending and twisting his arms and pulling his hair.