TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A judge declared a mistrial Tuesday in the case of a man accused of throwing an infant out of a car window onto Interstate 275 in Tampa in 2009.
The mistrial came a day after the baby's mother, Jasmine Bedwell, 22, made statements on the witness stand that had already been barred by Circuit Judge William Fuente. The defense attorneys for Richard A. McTear Jr. objected and asked for a mistrial.
Fuente heard from attorneys Tuesday morning before issuing the ruling.
"The jurors heard testimony they should not have heard under any circumstances. In this court's opinion, a mistrial is necessary,"Fuente said. "I'll say this: I do this with extreme reluctance. I'm not suggesting that any counsel did anything inappropriate."
The baby's mother took the stand on the first day of the first-degree murder trial for McTear, 25. Hillsborough Assistant State Attorney Ron Gale asked Bedwell about phone calls she received from McTear before baby Murray's death.
Bedwell testified that McTear told her harm her and the baby, who was not his son.
Assistant Public Defender Mike Peacock noted that the mother's exact statement had been ruled inadmissible last year.
It had taken a week to select the jury and Monday was the first day of testimony. It was immediately clear when the case would be tried again.
The judge told jurors he was sorry for any inconveniences the mistrial caused, following a week of jury selection and expected weeks-long trial. "These things happen from time to time. I apologize that it did and I apologize to you for consuming so much of your time."
The Tampa Bay Times (http://bit.ly/18HCWZZ ) reports Bedwell wasn't in court on Tuesday morning.
Authorities say McTear flew into a rage when he saw Bedwell return home in May 2009 with another man. He forced his way into her home, took the baby and drove off. The infant was found alongside I-275.