CLEARWATER, Fla. – A Florida man who threw his 5-year-old daughter off a Tampa Bay space bridge 4 years in the past knew what he was doing was mistaken and must be discovered responsible of first-degree homicide, a prosecutor advised jurors Monday throughout closing arguments of his trial.
However John Jonchuck’s protection legal professional advised jurors that though her consumer dropped his daughter, Phoebe, 62 toes (18 meters) into Tampa Bay, he was insane and did not know what he was doing.
“We all know he had an awesome sense of concern,” assistant public defender Jessica Manuele mentioned. “He felt that someone was after him and Phoebe.”
Jonchuck faces a life in jail if convicted of first-degree homicide by jurors who began deliberating Monday afternoon after listening to 3 weeks of testimony.
Paul Bolan, an assistant state legal professional, advised jurors Jonchuck was motivated by anger over worries that Phoebe’s mom was going to take the woman away from him and his personal mom’s doting consideration to her granddaughter when she had been inattentive to him rising up.
Jonchuck’s act was premediated and his fleeing the scene is proof he knew what he was doing was mistaken, Bolan mentioned.
“It was rage that drove him to it on high of that bridge,” Bolan mentioned. “Did he know what he was doing and did he realize it was mistaken? The reply is clearly sure.”
Manuele advised jurors Johnchuck cherished Phoebe greater than the rest on the planet and there isn’t any proof he acted out of “unbridled anger.”
Quite, Manuele mentioned, his delusions led him to imagine Phoebe was possessed, induced him to pour salt exterior her window to maintain spirits away and made him speak in regards to the archangel Michael’s coming.
“At that second, he thought he was defending his daughter,” Manuele mentioned. “It’ll by no means make sense as a result of it is madness.”
Twelve hours earlier than Phoebe’s loss of life, Jonchuck’s divorce lawyer, Genevieve Torres, fearing for the woman’s security, known as a state baby safety hotline, in line with authorities.
Torres advised the Division of Kids and Households operator that Jonchuck had pushed to 3 church buildings in his pajamas with Phoebe in tow that morning, known as Torres “God” and requested her to translate his stepmother’s century-old Swedish Bible, which he carried and had change into obsessive about. The legal professional mentioned Jonchuck additionally was paranoid that Phoebe wasn’t his baby.
However the operator thought the legal professional was extra anxious about Jonchuck’s security than the woman’s and didn’t report the decision to authorities.
Simply after midnight the following day, Jonchuck’s PT Cruiser raced previous officer William Vickers, who was heading house from his shift in his patrol automobile. He began following Jonchuck however by no means obtained shut sufficient to learn the license plate and did not know Phoebe was inside, in line with authorities.
As they reached the bridge’s crest, Jonchuck stopped and obtained out. Vickers, fearing an ambush, stopped behind him, pulled his gun and yelled at Jonchuck to point out his arms. He noticed no weapon.
Jonchuck yelled on the officer, “You don’t have any free will.” He grabbed Phoebe from the again seat, held her over the facet momentarily after which dropped her, in line with police accounts.
Jonchuck drove off however was quickly arrested. Vickers scrambled down a ladder to a dock beneath the bridge however could not see Phoebe at the hours of darkness water. A marine rescue boat was summoned, and her physique was discovered hours later.