Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Defense seeks to stop new trial for Richard McTear, Tampa man accused of throwing baby from car

TAMPA — Attorneys for the Tampa man accused of throwing an infant from a car on Interstate 275 are arguing that prosecutors should not have another chance to retry him after a judge declared a mistrial last month.

In a motion filed in Hillsborough Circuit Court, Assistant Public Defender Mike Peacock asserts that mistakes made by the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office should bar further prosecution of Richard McTear, 25, who is charged with killing 3-month-old Emanuel Murray Jr. in 2009.

McTear's much-anticipated trial was abruptly halted when the baby's mother, Jasmine Bedwell, tearfully testified about threats McTear allegedly made toward the baby. A judge had previously ruled that the alleged threats — which were related to earlier charges of which McTear had been acquitted — could not be discussed at trial.

Bedwell testified that McTear had threatened to shoot her baby in the face and urinate on him.

Peacock asserts that Assistant State Attorney Ron Gale did not adequately prepare Bedwell for her testimony ahead of time.

"The highly inflammatory nature of the alleged statements could have and should have been anticipated by the state of Florida in the questioning of Jasmine Bedwell," the defense motion states.

In a written response, Gale says he "met for several hours" with Bedwell to prepare her for her testimony, but did not tell her to avoid speaking about McTear's threats to the baby.

He notes that Bedwell's statements were made on the first day of testimony in the trial, adding, "the state at that point had no motive to cause a mistrial and had nothing to gain by doing so."

Gale states in his motion that under Florida law, only intentional misconduct by prosecutors — rather than inadvertent mistakes — prevents the retrying of a case after a mistrial.

Circuit Judge William Fuente has said he plans to issue an order after giving defense lawyers time to submit more arguments. McTear's new trial is currently scheduled for July 2014.

John Trevena, a criminal defense attorney in Largo, said he doubts that Fuente will find the defense's argument persuasive. The State Attorney's Office cannot necessarily be blamed, he said, for Bedwell's unpredictable testimony.

"Both prosecutors and defense lawyers, we can only do so much with our witnesses," Trevena said. "We can't control what they say, and they sometimes disregard our advice."

McTear is charged with first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and other offenses. If convicted, he could receive the death penalty.

Prosecutors say McTear attacked Bedwell, his then-girlfriend, and threw her baby (not his son) across the room in May 2009. He then drove off with the boy and threw him out the window on I-275 near Fowler Avenue, according to prosecutors.

Peter Jamison can be reached at or (813) 226-3337. Follow him on Twitter @petejamison.

Defense seeks to stop new trial for Richard McTear, Tampa man accused of throwing baby from car 09/25/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 11:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pasco deputies investigate vandalism at Crystal Springs Cemetery (w/video)


    Times Staff Writer

    CRYSTAL SPRINGS — Pasco County deputies are looking for one or more suspects linked to vandalism of two grave sites in this community's small cemetery.

  2. Republicans struggle to marshal votes for health care bill


    WASHINGTON — Republican leaders scrambled for support Tuesday before a vote to take up legislation repealing the health care law, negotiating, pressuring and cajoling Republican senators but preparing for another embarrassing setback for President Donald Trump.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., center, talks with his chief of staff Sharon Soderstrom, right, and communications staff director Antonia Ferrier, left, as they walk to his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, June 26, 2017. Senate Republicans unveil a revised health care bill in hopes of securing support from wavering GOP lawmakers, including one who calls the drive to whip his party's bill through the Senate this week "a little offensive." [Associated Press]
  3. Provocateur targets CNN with hidden camera video while Trump takes another swipe


    NEW YORK —A conservative provocateur posted a video Tuesday of a man identified as a CNN producer commenting on his network's coverage of President Donald Trump and connections to Russia.

    Anthony Scaramucci, a senior adviser to President-elect Donald Trump, talks to reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York. [Associated Press]
  4. Shakira coming to the Amway Center in Orlando


    Don't lie, Shakira. Not your hips, not your lips, not anything. Tell us: Why won't you come back to Tampa?

  5. Jameis Winston held his pro day at Florida State's indoor practice facility. His pro team will be getting one soon.