ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A jury has found John Jonchuck guilty of first-degree murder in the death of his 5-year-old daughter Phoebe Jonchuck. 

Jonchuck is guilty of dropping his daughter to her death from the Dick Misner Bridge in 2015. He is automatically sentenced to life in prison.

The jury reached its verdict just before 2 p.m. Tuesday.

His face expressionless, Jonchuck turned to hug his public defender Jessica Manuele, then stood before the judge to hear his sentence.

Jonchuck dropped his daughter more than 60 feet from the bridge. A police officer testified during the trial that he heard Phoebe scream on the way down.

Jonchuck then led law enforcement on a high-speed chase that ended with his arrest a short while later.

Insanity has been the focal point of the case. Jonchuck's murder trial was delayed in the past because he was found to be mentally incompetent and spent fours years in a state hospital. 

Once he was found competent to stand trial, the process began on March 18 and lasted almost a month. 

Throughout the trial, the state tried to prove that Jonchuck planned to murder his daughter, while the defense tried to prove that he was mentally insane when he killed his daughter. 

Before the jury deliberated on Monday, the judge said, "You're in charge now." 

The state used one last powerful piece of evidence to hopefully sway the jury's decision, reminding them of the words Jonchuck spoke the day before Phoebe was killed — "None of this will matter tomorrow," said Prosecutor Paul Bolan, quoting Jonchuck. "I want you to think about that for a moment. 'None of this will matter tomorrow.'"

The jury ultimately believed Jonchuck knew what he was doing when he dropped his daughter from the approach to the Skyway Bridge into Tampa Bay. 


Stay with Spectrum News for updates from court. You can also follow Cait McVey on Twitter.