Monday, December 18, 2017
News Roundup

Richard McTear, accused of killing baby, to be retried in July 2014

TAMPA — A new trial date has been set for the Tampa man accused of throwing his girlfriend's baby from a moving car on Interstate 275.

Richard McTear, 25, will have to wait until July 7 to be retried for the killing of 3-month-old Emanuel Murray Jr. A judge declared a mistrial in his murder trial last month after Emanuel's mother broke down in tears on the witness stand, accusing McTear of threatening to shoot the baby in the face and urinate on him.

The volatile testimony by Jasmine Bedwell — which Hillsborough Circuit Judge William Fuente had previously ruled inadmissible because it related to earlier charges of which McTear was acquitted — derailed the first trial and wasted five days the judge had spent painstakingly selecting jurors.

There will be no postponements granted for the July trial, Fuente said Thursday in court.

"This is going to be cast in stone," he said.

The long delay in staging a new trial — McTear's next trial will take place almost a year after the mistrial declaration — springs from several logistical challenges. Among them are the time and effort needed to select a jury for a highly publicized case that could result in a death sentence if McTear is found guilty.

The April-to-May murder trial scheduled for Julie Schenecker — the New Tampa woman accused of killing her two children in another high-stakes case — also complicates the picture. The investigator for McTear's defense team is also working on that case, Assistant Public Defender Mike Peacock said Thursday, and would need time after the conclusion of the Schenecker trial to help prepare McTear's defense.

McTear is charged with first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and other offenses. Prosecutors say he attacked Bedwell, his then-girlfriend, and threw her baby across the room in May 2009. He then drove off with the infant and threw him out the window on I-275 near Fowler Avenue, prosecutors say.

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

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