Richard McTear murder trial: Day 3 of testimony in case of baby tossed out of car window on I-275

TAMPA - Testimony continued Thursday on day three of the trial of Richard McTear, accused of tossing his ex-girlfriend's baby out of a moving car. 

McTear, 26, is charged with murder in the death of his ex-girlfriend Jasmine Bedwell's baby, whose body was found on the side of I-275.

On Thursday, jurors heard from the man who first spotted the baby on the roadside.

"I thought it was a doll," said Jerry Bird.  "But the more I started thinking about it, I said what if it isn't a doll?"

Bird, a news photographer, was on his way to work.  He told jurors how he called his employer and relayed what he thought he saw in the southbound lanes.

Bird then doubled back to get a better look at what was on the roadside.

"I could tell right away it was a human baby, dead," Bird testified.
 
Within minutes, first responders arrived.
 
"No," replied Hillsborough County Deputy Kevin Dennie when asked by prosecutors if the baby was crying, giving any sort of verbal responses or had a pulse.
 
Dennie noted seeing road rash on the baby's forehead, forearm and legs, adding that the baby had on a diaper and a onesie.
 
According to Dennie, he began to administer CPR to the baby and continued for 45 minutes.
 
"It didn't work," Dennie said.
 
Earlier Thursday, the mother of McTear's own son, Re'Chell Hill testified McTear threatened them too, after baby Emmanuel was found dead. "He indicated to me either 'you're next' or 'your baby is next' or 'ya'll are next,'' she said. 
 
Testimony wrapped up Thursday after crime scene investigator, Maria Ramirez, identified photosof the crime scene and other evidence, including McTear's shirt and shorts that were taken the day he was taken into custody. Ramirez will take the stand as court reconvenes early Friday.

On Wednesday, Bedwell gave highly emotional testimony as she recounted the early morning hours when her baby was killed.

"The deputy told me my son was killed," Bedwell told jurors through her tears.

Hillsborough County prosecutors said McTear flew into a jealous rage after seeing Bedwell's new love interest, Liderrius Moore, walk into the apartment they once shared carrying the infant, Emanuel Murray, in a car seat.

Bedwell was already in tears before she took the witness stand and broke up when she was asked to identify McTear in the courtroom.

Without speaking, she pointed at McTear as the being her son's killer.

It was in the early morning hours of May 5, 2009, and Bedwell had fallen asleep at Lidderius Moore's house.

From the witness stand Tuesday, Moore described driving Jasmine home with his mother and giving Emmanuel a kiss and Jasmine a hug before parting ways.

"Once I walked out of the house, she locked the door behind me," Moore testified.

Prosecutor Ron Gale said in opening statements that McTear watched the exchange and became enraged.

"He starts hitting her, asking her, ‘Who was that? Who was that?’” said McTear. "Mr. McTear is on top of her. He's hitting her and he's biting her."

Prosecutors said they have DNA evidence that will back the sequence of events. Gale said McTear's fury did not end there.  He then turned his rage on Emmanuel, still sleeping peacefully in his car seat where Moore had left him.

"He gets a can of soda out of the refrigerator and pours this onto the baby's face," said Gale. "The baby starts crying and Jasmine does whatever she can to calm him down."

McTear showed no outward sign of emotion while hearing the allegations against him. But many of the 12 jurors cringed when hearing the details and then reacted even stronger after learning the baby suffered several broken bones and other injuries when he was thrown from a car onto I-275.

"He has road rash literally from the front and the back of his head. Literally on his toes, both legs both sides, both knees, both elbows," Gale said.

Defense lawyer Mike Peacock laid out his case in his opening statement. The defense plans to portray Bedwell not as an abused woman, but a liar who gave different versions of what happened and even pointed at someone else as her baby's killer the morning Emmanuel died.

The defense lawyer said she made this claim to a woman she knew. The woman is a supervisor in a program that Bedwell was in that enabled the 17-year-old to live on her own.

"Ms. Bedwell said when she called, she hysterically screamed in the phone, ‘My baby died. My baby died,’ and ‘My uncle beat me up and killed my baby,’” said Peacock.

Last year the judge was forced to declare a mistrial after Bedwell made inflammatory comments against McTear regarding alleged earlier threats he made against her baby.

Those statements weren't supposed to be allowed as testimony.

If McTear is found guilty, he could be sentenced to death.
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