Dad accused of killing girl ruled incompetent to stand trial

Author: Associated Press

LARGO, Fla. (AP) – A man accused of throwing his 5-year-old daughter over a Tampa bridge is being sent to a prison mental facility until he’s capable of understanding the first-degree murder charges he’s facing.

Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Chris Helinger ruled Thursday that John Jonchuck is incompetent to stand trial. He was arrested Jan. 8 after authorities say he dropped daughter Phoebe Johnchuck more than 60 feet off a bridge approaching the Sunshine Skyway during what appeared to be a psychotic breakdown.

Prosecutors say two experts who’ve evaluated Johnchuck believe he can become mentally competent with proper treatment in six to nine months. Then, the case against him can continue.

The judge will get an update on his condition during a June 9 hearing.

Johnchuck’s court appointed attorneys have waived his right to a speedy trial.

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