Judge: Jonchuck not competent for trial

- The father accused of throwing his little girl off a bridge last year will not be going to trial, at least not yet.

The ruling came during a competency hearing in court Tuesday morning after the defense announced that a mental health expert had evaluated John Jonchuck and determined he needed more treatment, and was incompetent to stand trial.

It was last January when investigators say Jonchuck tossed his 5-year-old daughter, Phoebe, from the approach to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, and ultimately ended her life.

Court records show Jonchuck had a history of domestic violence charges against him, and that he appeared to have been unraveling mentally leading up to the incident.

Not long before it happened, Jonchuck’s attorney called authorities because Jonchuck had reportedly paid a peculiar visit to the office. He was said to be in his pajamas and, with Phoebe by his side, he made irrational statements, called her “God” and asked her to read the bible in Swedish.

Phoebe was said to be evaluated after the incident, and then it was determined that Jonchuck was not a threat.

Today, it’s clear that he was, and Jonchuck's mother says her granddaughter’s death could have been prevented.

“He loved that child, and this would not have happened if there was more mental help,” said Michele Jonchuck outside of the courthouse Tuesday. “He did get off his meds- that was his fault- but if there were more people that had listened that day, instead of pushing it off, Phoebe would still be here.”

Back in court, the prosecution and the defense said Tuesday’s ruling will not put an end to their process.

They said they will continue to interview witnesses and continue having depositions- just in case Jonchuck is found competent down the road.

He has another hearing scheduled for October 18 to evaluate his mental state again.

Stay with FOX 13 for more.
 

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