TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The trial for Tampa man accused of throwing his ex-girlfriend’s 3-month-old son out of a moving car may have to start over after the child’s mother made statements in court she was ordered not to.
Following opening statements Monday, Jasmine Bedwell took the stand to testify.
Hillsborough Assistant State Attorney Ron Gale asked Bedwell about phone calls she had received from Richard McTear in May 2009, and Bedwell responded, “He told me he was going to come over and shoot my baby in the face and piss on him and in his face and he was going to kill both of us.”
Assistant Public Defender Michael Peacock immediately objected and then asked for a mistrial during a conference at the bench. Judge William Fuente had previously barred those statements from being presented in the trial.
Gale said he hadn’t expected Bedwell to give that testimony regarding her conversations with McTear on that date. In previous interviews, Bedwell had said McTear made those statements in March 2009, not May.
The judge halted the trial Monday and told attorneys to return Tuesday morning to discuss how to proceed. Fuente said one option was to declare a mistrial and start the entire trial over after selecting a new jury.
Earlier during opening statements, Gale told jurors McTear murdered Emanuel Murray, even though the baby had “severe and multiple skull fractures” that could not have come from being flung from a car. Gale did not say how the infant received the injuries during his Monday morning remarks.
Gale said that McTear flew into a rage on May 5, 2009, after witnessing Bedwell, his then-girlfriend, returning to her home with another man. McTear forced his way into her home and beat Bedwell, who was 17 at the time. McTear threw a baby carrier against a wall with Murray in it, causing him to fall to the concrete floor, investigators said.
When Bedwell tried to escape with the child, Gale said, McTear took the baby from her and drove off. Murray was later found by the side of Interstate 275.
Murray’s body was found by the side of the road with “road rash” injuries from his head to his toes that were likely caused by being thrown from a moving car, prosecutors said.
In the defense’s opening statement, Peacock said there was not sufficient evidence that shows how Murray actually ended up on the side of the road and who might have inflicted the child’s fatal injuries.
The words McTear repeatedly said after his arrest were not a reference to Murray or an admission of guilt, Peacock said. “It’s a dirty game” was a reference that Bedwell was cheating on McTear, Peacock added.
McTear, 25, is charged with first-degree murder, burglary and aggravated child abuse, among other charges. He could face the death penalty if convicted.
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