In a chilling crime story from Florida, a father who murdered his daughter tried to use insanity as his defense. The jury, however, was far from convinced. After a month-long trial and just seven hours of deliberation over two days, they found John Jonchuck guilty of first-degree murder. Desperate to be deemed clinically insane, Jonchuck had callously thrown his two-year-old daughter off a bridge in Florida when confronted by the police.

Despite Jonchuck’s defense attorneys arguing that he was delusional and insane at the time of the crime, the jury remained unconvinced. Instead, they concluded that the toddler’s murder was premeditated and fueled by Jonchuck’s uncontrollable rage.

The heinous act occurred in January 2015 when Jonchuck dropped his daughter, Phoebe, from a bridge in Tampa, Florida. The innocent child plummeted 62 feet to her death.

During the court proceedings, Jonchuck donned his finest attire, wearing a button-down shirt and a striped tie. As the verdict was announced, he embraced his attorneys and acknowledged to the judge that his conviction came with an automatic life sentence. Following this, bailiffs took him into custody, fingerprinted him, and escorted him to prison.

Not a single family member was present in the courtroom to support Jonchuck or speak on behalf of little Phoebe during the sentencing.

Jonchuck’s attorneys requested a week-long delay in the sentencing, but Judge Chris Hellinger denied it. The lawyers claimed they needed to verify additional facts, but they failed to provide a valid reason when pressed by the judge. Consequently, Hellinger decided to proceed with the sentencing, ensuring Jonchuck would be incarcerated and unable to harm any more children.

Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe told the Tampa Bay Times, “I am satisfied that justice was done. My immediate reaction is killing children doesn’t make one a very sympathetic character.”

Judge Hellinger thanked the jury for their dedication and hard work during the month-long trial, saying, “There’s no way I can express my appreciation for your service. I’ve never had a trial this long, and I’ve been here about 12 years as a judge.”

Jonchuck had a lengthy history of mental health issues, and there was no dispute that he had killed his daughter. The prosecution focused on proving that the murder was premeditated. Assistant State Attorney Paul Bolan described how Jonchuck was furious at Phoebe’s mother for potentially taking the girl away and angry at his own mother for showing Phoebe the attention he never received growing up.

“It was rage that drove him to it on top of that bridge,” Bolan said. “Did he know what he was doing, and did he know it was wrong? The answer is clearly yes.”

Assistant Public Defender Jessica Manuele, however, disagreed. She argued that Jonchuck suffered from delusions, believing Phoebe was possessed and that the archangel Michael would save her. According to Manuele, Jonchuck thought he was protecting his daughter when he threw her off the bridge, claiming, “It will never make sense because it’s insanity.”

Despite the defense’s efforts, Jonchuck was found guilty and will now spend the rest of his life in prison.

Source: AWM

One Response

  1. Jesse

    He should have been take to a tall building one equal to the distance difference in the child’s height to the drop that killed her. So he should be dropped from at least a height of 100 to 150 feet. The area should be concrete around the building since that was how the water treated the child’s body. Life in prison only punished taxpayers.


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