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TAMPA (CBSMiami) – Jury selection continues in the long-awaited murder trial of a man accused of deliberately throwing his five-year-old daughter off a bridge in 2015.
Jury selection got underway Monday. At one point Judge Chris Helinter noted a that “this is going to be problematic.”
“Twelve hundred people were summoned to appear as potential jurors for this case and today legal teams spent hours whittling through them one by one,” he said.
Over the next month, it will be up to the selected jurors to decide if John Jonchuck was legally insane when he dropped his daughter Phoebe Johnchuck more than 60 feet off a bridge approaching the Sunshine Skyway during what appeared to be a psychotic breakdown.
Jonchuck showed little emotion as he looked at the potential jurors that could determine his fate.
Narrowing down those jurors to 12 is proving to be a difficult task. Helinter is worried that widespread and international media coverage of the case could taint the jury.
“They said he did it (laughs) in the news,” said one unidentified potential juror.
Others said they couldn’t set aside their bias because they were parents or grandparents themselves.
“The images are too horrendous,” said another unidentified potential juror.
One by one, potential jurors were dismissed.
On Monday, the first pool of 55 was quickly narrowed down to 17, by afternoon 60 additional jurors were brought in.
The trial is expected to last about a month. Jonchuck will likely face life in prison or a mental institution.