Judge: Dad accused of dropping girl off bridge ready to stand trial

Phoebe Jonchuck

Family photo/CBS affiliate WTSP
jonchuck.jpg

John Jonchuck

St. Petersburg Police via WTSP

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- A Florida man accused of throwing his young daughter to her death off a Tampa Bay area bridge has been found competent to stand trial.

Johnchuck, 27, was deemed incompetent in February 2015, the month after prosecutors say he dropped 5-year-old Phoebe Jonchuck into Tampa Bay. Friday’s ruling by Pinellas County Judge Joseph Bulone comes after state mental health doctors in January determined he was ready to stand trial.

Prosecutors say they’re hoping for a fall trial.

The Tampa Bay Times reports Jonchuck will remain at the state hospital in Gainesville until the case is closer to trial.

Pinellas-Pasco Chief Assistant State Attorney Brian Bartlett says they’re concerned Jonchuck will become incompetent again if he’s not forced to take his medication.

The state is seeking the death penalty.