Caregivers accused of abusing autistic man plead not guilty
2 allegedly caught on tape abusing autistic man
5:09 AM, Sep 21, 2012
5:35 PM, Sep 21, 2012
VISTA, Calif. -
Two men arrested after they were allegedly caught on surveillance video abusing a 23-year-old severely autistic Valley Center man for whom they were hired to provide care pleaded not guilty Friday to six charges each of cruelty to a dependent adult.
Matthew Alexander McDuffie, 27, and Michael Dale Garritson, 61, were each ordered held on $1 million bail.
Both defendants face nine years in state prison if convicted, Deputy District Attorney Natalie Villaflor said.
McDuffie and Garritson were taken into custody Wednesday evening after the victim's family handed investigators more than 2,000 individual video recordings of the abuse, according to San Diego County sheriff's Sgt. Mark Varnau.
McDuffie and Garritson have worked for the victim's family for more than two years, Varnau said.
Over a three-week period in August, the family set up a surveillance video system in the victim's bedroom. According to Varnau, the victim is severely autistic and does not speak.
Vista Judge Marshall Hockett scheduled a readiness conference for Oct. 1 and a preliminary hearing for Oct. 3.