CLEARWATER, Fla. (FOX 13) - The state rested its case against John Jonchuck late this morning after some difficult testimony from the medical examiner about Phoebe Jonchuck’s final moments.
Jonchuck, 29, threw his 5-year-old daughter off the Dick Misener Bridge back in 2015 but he is now claiming he was insane at the time.
Medical examiner Dr. Christopher Wilson, who performed the autopsy on Phoebe, testified Wednesday morning about bruises on the girl’s body, which he said meant she was likely alive after the 60-foot-fall from the bridge.
Wilson also described some internal injuries she suffered and discussed his findings on the issue of hypothermia.
The crime happened on a cold night in January of 2015. The water temperature under the bridge was about 67 degrees, and Phoebe was in the water for about 90 minutes before her body was found.
As Wilson testified, prosecutors showed jurors some photos from the autopsy. At that point, John Jonchuck appeared to become emotional. He bowed his head down at times and it looked like he grabbed a napkin to dab his eyes.
After prosecutors rested, defense attorneys asked the judge to dismiss the case because they claimed the prosecution had not proven there was criminal premeditation. But the judge disagreed and ordered the trial to continue.
The defense began making their case just after noon, telling the judge they plan to call 17 witnesses.
Jonchuck’s father was among their first on the stand. He painted a picture of a difficult childhood for his son. He said he took him to start getting mental health treatment at the age of 5 or 6. The elder Jonchuck also said his son loved his daughter and he never saw him hurt her.
Jonchuck is facing a first-degree murder charge. Prosecutors have previously said they are not seeking the death penalty, though.