NewsPinellas County

Actions

Murder trial to start for John Jonchuck, man accused of throwing daughter off bridge

Posted: 10:49 AM, Mar 14, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-18 14:39:48Z
John Jonchuck
Judge: Father finally competent to stand trial

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — The murder trial for John Jonchuck, the man accused of throwing his 5-year-old off a bridge, is set to start on March 18. Jury selection begins Monday morning at 9 a.m. in the Pinellas County Courthouse. The trial will start as soon as jury selection is complete.

RELATED:

Police say a detective saw Jonchuck, 29, throw his daughter Phoebe off of the Dick Misener Bridge in the middle of the night in Jan. 2015. Her body was recovered hours later.

After that, Jonchuck had been deemed incompetent to stand trial, until 2017.

PINELLAS COUNTY NEWS | The latest headlines from Pinellas County

Since then, the trial had been pushed back several times, from February 2018 to September 2018. Now, it's set to begin Monday, March 18.

The State Attorney's Office decided not to seek the death penalty against Jonchuck. They say they took it off the table to better focus on the sanity issue. This saves time and expenses with many of the pretrial motions, and allows the state to focus on the main issue — his sanity.

Jonchuck faces a first-degree murder charge. He arrived back in Pinellas County on March 13, the first time he's been back since 2016.