TAMPA - She dropped a bombshell... that may have blown up the prosecution's case.
"He told me he was going to shoot my baby in the face…. and he was gonna kill both of us," said Jasmine Bedwell, explaining threats made against her by defendant Richard McTear
And almost as soon as those words were out of her lips, the Judge in this case -- William Fuentes -- ordered the jury out of the room, and sent them home as he conferred with counsel about rules already in place for this trial against such provocative language.
"The statement that as now been testified to is clearly in contravention of the court's order which clearly prohibits that question from being raised," said Defense Attorney Michael Peacock. "It was the obligation of the state to make sure that their witnesses were thoroughly instructed to make sure that those things that had been excluded for the purposes of testimony would not be presented in the course of this trial."
The defense said that -- in and of itself -- is enough to declare a mistrial, and an exasperated Judge looked like he was inclined to agree.
"So what do you suggest we do?" queried Judge Fuentes, looking intently at Prosecutor Ronald Gale.
"I'm suggesting that the motion for the mistrial should be denied because there is no prejudice to the defendant," countered the prosecutor. "It's a threat made by the defendant to the victim prior to the murder."
Earlier in the day, opening statements were made in this long-anticipated case.
Prosecutors told jurors that 25-year-old Richard McTear murdered Emmanuel Murray four years ago when he threw the boy onto Interstate 275.
McTear's attorney said there wasn't sufficient evidence showing who might have inflicted the fatal injuries.
Investigators said McTear forced his way into Jasmine Bedwell's apartment in 2009 and beat her. He threw the baby carrier against a wall with the child in it, causing him to fall off.
Detectives say McTear then drove off with the baby, got on the interstate and threw the infant out.
McTear could get the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder.