TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - The defense has rested its case in the murder trial of John Jonchuck, the man accused of throwing his daughter, Phoebe from the Dick Misener Bridge back in 2015.
His defense attorneys say he was insane at the time.
The trial now enters the prosecution’s rebuttal phase. So now they’re going to be calling witnesses in an effort to refute the defense’s insanity argument.
The defense rested its case about an hour ago after its final expert witness testified that he believed Jonchuck was insane at the time he killed his daughter.
Psychiatrist Dr. Michael Maher spent a significant amount of time on the stand Thursday.
Maher is also known in the Bay Area for his testimony in another notable case, saying defendant Julie Schenecker was insane.
The jury in Schenecker’s trial didn’t buy the insanity defense and she was convicted of killing her two children.
Dr. Maher said he believes Jonchuck has dealt with some level of psychosis his entire life, including in and around the time of Phoebe’s death.
Maher testified Thursday he believes, at the time Jonchuck threw Phoebe from the bridge, Jonchuck had severe mental disease or defect and did not understand the “wrongful nature” of his actions.
A juror, who used to live in Pinellas County but now lives in Pasco County, was dismissed from the case Thursday.
Somehow he got a summons and was chosen to sit on the jury but, out of an abundance of caution, he was excused.
He wouldn’t say much about the case on his way out of the courthouse, other than he looked forward to getting back to work.
The case could go another week and a half.