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Witnesses say man implicated himself

Jasmine Chambers was just 13 months old, authorities say, when she was slapped and squeezed until she couldn't breathe. She was thrown and dropped to the ground.

In court Tuesday, the state produced its most powerful witness against Jeremiah Kirkpatrick, the man accused in her death:

Jeremiah Kirkpatrick himself.

The 24-year-old New Port Richey man repeatedly incriminated himself in the Sept. 21 death, witnesses testified at his bail hearing.

Pasco sheriff's Detective Jason Hatcher testified about the taped phone call between Kirkpatrick and his girlfriend April Chambers, Jasmine's 19-year-old mother. He was babysitting Jasmine when she died - but couldn't handle her crying.

At first, Kirkpatrick said the baby fell off the couch, or slipped from his hands into the bathtub while he attempted CPR.

Then his story changed.

"Was there a point when April asked, 'Why did you kill my baby?' " prosecutor Mike Halkitis asked.

"He said he snapped," the detective replied.

Kirkpatrick was arrested Sept. 22 and contemplated suicide at the jail, the detective said. When a corrections deputy asked why, Kirkpatrick said:

"'Because I killed (Jasmine).' "

Kirkpatrick was indicted on a charge of first-degree murder last month.

Circuit Judge Joe Bulone denied a defense motion to set bail. Kirkpatrick remains in the county jail, held without bail.

Jamal Thalji can be reached at thalji@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6236.

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