TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - It's a battle of experts at the John Jonchuck trial. The jury will have to decide who they believe.
On one side, there's the doctor who told them Jonchuck was insane when he threw his daughter off a bridge. On the other is the doctor who told them Jonchuck wasn't insane and knew what he was doing was wrong.
Prosecutors began their rebuttal case Monday. Jonchuck answered yes-or-no questions from the judge about whether he will testify in his own defense. It was one of the few times we’ve actually heard him speak during this trial.
The judge asked if he would testify in his own defense and he said no. She asked if he was sure and he said he was.
After that, we heard from the first state expert witness, licensed psychologist Dr. Peter Bursten. The prosecution called him to testify that Jonchuck was not insane at the time of his daughter's death and would have known right from wrong.
There were several starts and stops during Burnsten’s testimony. The defense didn’t like a lot of the characterizations he made in describing Jonchuck’s mental health.
He shared an interesting piece of information with the jury related to Jonchuck and Phoebe’s mother, Michele Kerr.
"'If you don’t give me money, you won’t see Phoebe.' That kind of thing," Burnsten testified of how Jonchuck would use Phoebe to manipulate Kerr.
He also told a story about when Jonchuck was 17. Bernsten said Jonchuck purposely made the stairs slick at his uncle’s house, where he was staying at the time. When one of his uncles slipped and fell and broke bones, Jonchuck was there watching and laughing about it.
Burnsten says that’s a sign of his lack of emotional control.
Also on Monday, a second juror was excused from the trial. One called in sick Monday morning, so an alternate will take her place from here on out.
There are now two alternate jurors stepping in, who will make the decision on Jonchuck’s sanity. The trial is expected to continue another week.