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Judge: Dad who dropped girl off bridge ready to stand trial

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Posted at 8:16 AM, Mar 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-04 08:16:25-05

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- 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.

Pinellas County Judge Joseph Bulone issued the ruling Friday.

In January, state mental health doctors determined 27-year-old Jon Jonchuck was ready to stand trial. He was deemed incompetent in February 2015, the month after prosecutors say he dropped 5-year-old Phoebe Jonchuck into Tampa Bay.

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.

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