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Jury selection begins in murder trial for John Jonchuck, man accused of throwing daughter off bridge

Posted: 10:07 AM, Mar 18, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-18 23:30:57-04
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PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — The long-awaited trial for John Jonchuck, who prosecutors say threw his 5-year-old daughter off the Dick Misener Bridge in 2015, has begun.

Monday morning, Judge Chris Helinger went over her expectations for jury selection.

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1,200 Pinellas County residents were summoned to appear as potential jurors for this case. Legal teams spent hours Monday whittling through them one by one.

The publicity surrounding the case is one concern regarding the selection of jurors. During a pre-trial screening, 25 potential jurors in the first group said they had pre-trial knowledge of the case.

Since the incident on January 8, 2015, media reports have focused on Jonchuck’s sanity.

Jonchuck was originally deemed incompetent to stand trial. He was taken to the North Florida Evaluation and Treatment Center to treat his mental illness. Doctors now believe he is competent and ready to stand trial.

Monday, Jonchuck, dressed in a light blue shirt and crimson striped tie, kept a straight face as he glanced over at the pool of jurors who could determine his fate.

Jonchuck originally told law enforcement that voices in his head told him to kill his daughter.

Judge Helinger told jurors that they can expect to serve on the jury for about a month.

Of the hundreds of potential jurors, 12 will be selected to serve.