Trial delayed for man charged with tossing baby from car

June 8th, 2010 by

TAMPA – The trial of a man accused of kidnapping a 3-month-old and tossing him out of a moving car has been put off until December.

Circuit Judge William Fuente granted a defense request to postpone the trial of Richard McTear Jr.

McTear’s lawyers asked for an extra 12 months to prepare for his trial on first-degree murder, kidnapping, aggravated child abuse, batter and burglary charges.

Instead, Fuente gave them four months, setting the case for trial Dec. 6. The case was set to begin Aug. 16. It is expected to take two weeks.

McTear is accused of killing Emanuel Wesley Murray on May 5, 2009. Police said he forced his way into the apartment of his girlfriend, Jasmine Bedwell, beat her and threw a baby carrier with the child inside against a wall, causing Emanuel to fall to a concrete floor. They say he then drove off with the child, throwing Emanuel from a moving car and onto the shoulder of Interstate 275, where he was pronounced dead.

McTear has pleaded not guilty. His lawyers claim there is no evidence tying him to any car on the day of the baby’s death.

Michael J. Peacock, one of McTear’s attorneys, said the additional time was needed to take the sworn statements from an estimated additional 76 witnesses.

Assistant State Attorney Jalal Harb said Bedwell and the lead detective in the case still need to be deposed, but the others would be superfluous.

Peacock bristled under the characterization.

“There is no such thing as an insignificant witness,” he said. “My client faces the death penalty.”

Peacock said the witnesses were people from where Emanuel’s body was found, Bedwell’s apartment and where McTear was arrested.

A jury in February acquitted McTear of attacking Bedwell in March 2009.

McTear testified he only wanted to retrieve his clothes when he went to Bedwell’s apartment March 31, 2009. Bedwell blocked the bedroom door and pushed him, he said, because she knew that if he collected his possessions it meant their relationship was over.

Prosecutors last month dismissed battery and burglary charges filed against McTear. In that case he was accused of attacking Bedwell and a neighbor and breaking into the neighbor’s apartment on March 18, 2009. He said Bedwell initiated that fight by hitting him on the back with a bottle of household cleaner as he tried to leave the apartment.

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