CLEARWATER, Fla. (FOX 13) - The man accused of killing his daughter was in court Thursday for the first time in a while.
John Jonchuck is accused of throwing his 5-year-old daughter off of a bridge near the Sunshine Skyway four years ago. Phoebe Jonchuck drowned after a 60-foot plunge into Tampa Bay. Investigators say hypothermia contributed to her death.
Jonchuck, now 29, arrived in Pinellas court this morning for a pre-trial hearing. Many were shocked by his skinnier appearance. Sources tell FOX 13 Jonchuck has lost about 100 pounds while in custody.
Jonchuck had been deemed incompetent to stand trial prior to this. But now, doctors believe -- with his medication -- he's ready for trial. His attorneys are still expected to use an insanity defense.
They filed a motion, asking the judge to ban the word "psychopath" from being used during the trial, saying it will prejudice a jury against their client.
Jonchuck's legal team also does not want the jury to hear that hypothermia was a contributing cause of Phoebe's death.
After hearing hours of professional testimony and arguments, Pinellas-Pasco County Judge Chris Helinger denied both of the defense's motions.
The term "psychopath" will be used in the trial and the jury will hear about hypothermia being a factor in the 5-year-old's death.
Jury selection is scheduled to begin next week. He faces a first-degree murder charge, but prosecutors have previously said they would not seek the death penalty.