TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man was convicted of murder Thursday for tossing a 3-month-old boy out a moving car window along an interstate, killing the infant instantly.
According to prosecutors, 26-year-old Richard McTear attacked ex-girlfriend Jasmine Bedwell, 22, after she returned home with her son from a friend's house in 2009.
McTear blocked the door when Bedwell tried to flee and grabbed her son, Emanuel Wesley Murray, during the struggle. He then took off down Interstate 275 in Tampa, throwing the baby out of the window, prosecutors said. The baby's blood stains were found on McTear's shorts and in a car he was known to drive.
Defense attorneys argued that McTear was innocent and questioned the mother's credibility.
The jury deliberated for more than seven hours before finding McTear guilty of first-degree murder, kidnapping, battery and aggravated child abuse charges. They will return to court on Monday to begin the sentencing phase.
McTear faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole, though jurors could recommend the death penalty.
A previous court proceeding against McTear ended in a mistrial after Bedwell made statements on the witness stand that Circuit Judge William Fuente had barred from the jury. Bedwell testified that McTear had threatened previously to harm her and the baby.
Bedwell and the baby's father are expected to submit victim impact statements in writing that will be read during the sentencing hearing.