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Man Who Tossed Daughter Off Bridge Learns His Fate

A Florida jury sentences John Jonchuck
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 16, 2019 5:45 PM CDT

(Newser) – A Florida jury on Tuesday found a man guilty of first-degree murder for dropping his 5-year-old daughter off a bridge four years ago, despite arguments from his attorneys that he was insane and thought his actions would actually save her, the AP reports. He was automatically sentenced to life in prison. Jurors in Clearwater, Fla., deliberated for about seven hours over two days before convicting John Jonchuck, whom prosecutors portrayed as a vengeful man who planned to kill his daughter to keep her away from her mother and grandmother. The Tampa Bay Times reported that no one from Jonchuck's family was in the courtroom when the verdict was announced.

And no friends or relatives spoke on behalf of Phoebe or her father before the sentencing. Jonchuck, who was stoic when the verdict was read, hugged his attorneys and said, "Yes, your honor," when asked if he understood that the verdict carries an automatic life sentence. He was then fingerprinted and taken out of the courtroom by bailiffs. Jonchuck's lawyers had asked the judge to delay sentencing for a week because they have some issues to check. But when they failed to provide a reason, Judge Chris Helinger proceeded with the sentencing. "I am satisfied that justice was done," the newspaper quoted Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe as saying. "My immediate reaction is killing children doesn't make one a very sympathetic character."

(Read more murder stories.)

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