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Defense asks for new judge in baby-throwing murder case

TAMPA — The man accused of throwing his girlfriend's baby out of a car window wants a new judge on his capital murder case.

Attorneys for Richard McTear Jr. asked the 2nd District Court of Appeal on Friday to remove Circuit Judge Gregory P. Holder, saying the defendant fears he will not receive a fair trial due to the judge's "bias."

The petition says the judge reacted in "an extremely aggressive manner" during a courtroom exchange on Dec. 11 and overreacted when McTear interrupted a prosecutor, saying "You wasn't there."

Holder told him that next time, he might hold McTear in contempt of court or use duct tape to keep him quiet. The judge told him to shut up and said, "you have lost your constitutional right to be present" before calling a recess. Defense attorneys said the judge's comments demonstrated a lack of compassion toward a 22-year-old facing the death penalty.

Authorities say McTear attacked his former girlfriend, 17-year-old Jasmine Bedwell, and her 3-month-old son, Emanuel Wesley Murray, on May 5. They say he threw the baby onto the concrete, drove off with him and threw him from a car window onto Interstate 275.

In December, the defense asked the judge to disqualify himself, but Holder said the defense's allegations "fail to meet even the absolute minimum standards" for disqualification.

The defense also says the judge is trying to move the case along at too fast a pace and "unreasonably reacted" when McTear waved at the baby's mother.

Holder declined to comment on the petition because the case is pending. The next hearing in McTear's case is scheduled for Wednesday.

Times staff writer Colleen Jenkins contributed to this report. Alexandra Zayas can be reached at azayas@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3354.

Defense asks for new judge in baby-throwing murder case 01/08/10 [Last modified: Friday, January 8, 2010 11:43pm]
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