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John Jonchuck ruled incompetent to stand trial for killing his daughter

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

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.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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