CLEARWATER, Fla. (FOX 13) - The jury was sent home early today in the John Jonchuck trial while the judge weighed major decision to make about whether to allow what could have been a key piece of testimony.
The debate was over something a paralegal said she overheard Jonchuck say. Kyrsten Malcolm said - hours before Phoebe was killed - Jonchuck told her over the phone, “If I can’t have her, no one else will.”
Jonchuck is on trial for throwing his daughter to her death from a bridge, so that would be a potentially damning statement – if it could be used in court.
The defense claimed it didn’t know that phrase would be brought up and, now that both sides have rested, it’s too late to admit new evidence. Such a discovery violation should not be permitted, they argued.
Ultimately, Judge Chris Helinger agreed, but acknowledged it could have been a breakthrough moment for the prosecution.
"It's a real problem. I wish it wasn't a problem... I agree with [the prosecution]. I think the statement is a statement that it's extremely important that the state put in front of the jury," Helinger said. "But I also agree that... it's highly prejudiced. It's a killer statement."