Richard McTear trial: Convicted killer to learn fate of life in prison or death penalty

A Tampa jury Thursday found 26-year-old Richard McTear guilty of first-degree murder in the 2009 death of a 3-month-old boy.

This week, the same jurors are back in court to recommend whether McTear should be sentenced to either life in prison, or the death penalty.

The jury concluded that McTear threw Emanuel Murray from a car window on I-275 South near Fowler Avenue in Tampa on May 5, 2009.

Much of the case hinged on the testimony of McTear's ex-girlfriend, Jasmine Bedwell, Emanuel's mother.

She testified that McTear attacked her in a jealous rage, threw the baby against a wall and took off with the child in a car.
 
"I am happy, and she made it," said a friend of Bedwell's after the verdict was read. "It's justice, and it's over."
 
Prosecutor Ron Gale told the jury that McTear's guilt was clear.
 
"The evidence in this case that you've received over the last week has proven beyond every reasonable doubt that Richard McTear is guilty as charged of the crimes of which he's charged," Gale said.
 
Gale pointed to physical evidence tying McTear to the murder, including the baby's DNA on McTear's shorts and in the car the prosecutors said McTear drove.
 
There were also phone records that, according to the state, showed McTear called Bedwell more than 100 times.
 
"Ms. Bedwell described for you how, that during these calls, the defendant threatened both herself and her baby," Gale told the jury.
 
The defense took only a day to present its case on Tuesday. McTear's attorneys argued unsuccessfully that the trial was full of conflicting testimony from witnesses, creating reasonable doubt.
 
The defense also brought up the possibility that someone else could be to blame, including another man they said Bedwell was dating.
 
"Reality is that it was Liderrius Moore, not Richard Anthony McTear Jr., with whom Emanuel was left alone shortly before the time, very shortly before the time, that he was found dead on the side of a road, with no clear explanation of how that baby got to the side of that road," said defense attorney Mike Peacock.
 
Moore had testified the baby was fine the last time he saw him.
 
The jurors found McTear guilty also of burglary, assault and battery, aggravated child abuse and kidnapping.
 
This was McTear's second trial. The first, in 2013, ended in a mistrial.
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