Jury selection began Monday for Richard McTear, a Tampa man accused of throwing his girlfriend’s baby out of a car onto Interstate 275 in 2009.
If convicted of first-degree murder in the killing of 3-month-old Emanuel Wesley Murray, McTear could face a possible death sentence. Authorities say McTear attacked the baby’s mother, Jasmine Bedwell, and the baby and then kidnapped the infant before throwing him out the car window.
Judge William Fuente polled 200 potential jurors and 103 said they knew something about the case. The judge then sent the others home for the day while he began quizzing the 103 about their knowledge and whether they could fairly judge the case. Those who it was determined could not be fair were dismissed from service.
The judge planned to finish that inquiry before moving to other aspects of jury selection, such as whether potential jurors have hardships that would prevent them from serving on a trial that could last as long as three weeks, and their views on the death penalty.
The first of the potential jurors questioned accurately recalled that McTear is accused of throwing the baby out a car window, but also said inaccurately that he thought there was a carjacking. He was dismissed from service after saying he thought McTear was “absolutely” guilty.
Investigators said McTear forced his way into Bedwell’s apartment on May 5, 2009, beat her and threw a baby carrier against a wall, with Emanuel in it, causing the infant to fall to a concrete floor. He is then accused of taking the baby and driving away before tossing the infant onto I-275.
McTear was arrested later that day.
Tribune reporter Elaine Silvestrini contributed to this report.