Judge to decide whether John Jonchuck gets new trial by October

Pinellas County

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Pinellas County Judge Chris Helinger will issue a ruling on whether or not John Jonchuck should get a new trial by Oct. 1 of this year.

Earlier this year, jurors convicted Jonchuck of dropping his 5-year-old daughter Pheobe off the Dick Misener bridge to her death. The incident happened in 2015.

Defense attorney Jessica Manuele argued that mistakes made during the trial combined with new standards in evaluating expert testimony should result in a new trial for her client.

“There’s no way that the court could find that the introduction of this expert testimony did not create an unfair and unduly prejudicial trial,” Manuele told the judge.

Prosecutor Paul Bolan argued that Jonchuck is not entitled to a new trial since Jonchuck’s own defense team brought out his mental issues during the original trial.

“The moment the state has rebuttal evidence that shows there is a different side to the mental health picture, that there is a darker side to him. As soon as we do that, then they want to object,” Bolan told the judge.

As Judge Helinger listened to the attorneys, so did Tim Siewak. As a juror in the original trial, he wanted to hear what was being said during the motion for a new one.

Siewak says he is a bit disappointed, but not surprised.

“If I was the defendant, I would be glad to have her (Manuele) fighting and doing everything she is doing,” said Siewak. “But personally, it does suck as you put a month into it. You can’t watch news, nothing for that month. And you thought you did a good job. “

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