I’m seriously going to be sick. God rest this dear little baby’s soul. I am so upset right now. He’ll (the killer) get his though. How do I know? Because there IS honour amongst criminals in jail. He’ll be dealt with.
TAMPA – The mother of a 3-month-old thrown from a car onto the side of Interstate 275 early this morning had been frightened for months of the man charged today with murdering the boy.
Jasmine Bedwell, 17, started dating Richard Anthony McTear Jr. about 10 months ago, when she was pregnant with the child of another man, a man in prison.
From the beginning, McTear did not warm up to the boy, said the infant’s great aunt Roberta Thomas. Bedwell told Thomas she was frightened of McTear and feared for her boy’s safety.
“She was always scared of him,” Thomas said. “He didn’t care for the child.”
Last month, Bedwell sought an injunction against McTear for domestic violence. She didn’t appear in court Monday, and the case was dropped. Thomas was trying to help Bedwell navigate that legal system to keep her and her son Emanuel Wesley Murray safe, she said.
But before any of that happened, Bedwell’s fears came true.
Early today, Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies say, McTear battered Bedwell and threw Emanuel on concrete, kidnapped the infant and threw him out of the driver’s side window onto the shoulder of southbound Interstate 275, just south of Fowler Avenue.
Thousand of people drove by the crime scene that snarled the morning commute.
McTear was charged with first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, kidnapping, felony battery and burglary with battery. It was the second time this week that an infant was killed. Sunday night, deputies say a Lakeland man killed his wife, two of his sons, aged 8 and almost 5 months, before turning the rifle on himself. A 13-year-old son managed to escape to a neighbor’s house.
Sometime early this morning, Bedwell, who had been out, returned to her apartment with her baby, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
There, she found McTear. He had broken in, said HCSO spokeswoman Debbie Carter.
According to a report:
When Bedwell closed the door, McTear began to beat her with his fists. He choked her, leaving abrasions on her neck. He bit her on the right arm and shoulder.
Then he threatened her and the baby. “I’m gonna kill the both of ya’ll,” he said.
Emanuel was in a car seat. McTear picked it up and threw it across the apartment.
He picked it up and threw it again. Emanuel fell out, onto the concrete floor.
Bedwell then ran out of the apartment, leaving her baby behind, to call for help. Deputies received a call from her shortly after 3 a.m.
When she left, McTear grabbed the child, put him in his Chevrolet Impala and drove off, eventually heading southbound on I275, where he tossed the baby out of the driver’s side window onto the shoulder.
At about 4 a.m., Jason Bird, a videographer for WTVT-TV, was driving to work when he saw what he thought was trash on the side of the interstate. The more he thought about it, the more he realized it wasn’t trash. He had seen the eyes of a child.
“It flipped me out, and I started shaking and said, ‘It’s a doll, a baby doll,’ ” Bird said.
It wasn’t. It was the 3-month-old boy.
Bird had stumbled onto a horrific crime scene. Authorities quickly arrived and shut down the intersection. At first they frantically tried to revive Emanuel. Then, after the baby was pronounced dead, they searched for evidence in a murder investigation.
According to the Medical Examiner’s Office, the exact cause of death of the infant was blunt impact with skull fractures and brain lacerations.
Investigators are still trying to determine whether Emanuel died in the apartment or later, said HCSO spokeswoman Debbie Carter.
Investigators found McTear’s Impala about 5 a.m. at his home, 1601 E. River Cove St. Four hours later, Tampa police got a tip from a caller who had seen news coverage on the incident and said McTear might be hiding in the Robles Park area. Officers went to 229 Stratford Ave.
McTear ran out a door, and the short chase began, Carter said. Police found McTear hiding in a backyard at 3803 Arlington Ave.
McTear didn’t resist when he was caught, Carter said, but he didn’t say anything to them.
As he was led from a patrol car at the sheriff’s District 2 headquarters, the handcuffed McTear was asked about the crime.
“It’s a dirty game,” McTear said after cursing the media. “It’s a dirty game.”
Lillie Bedwell, Jasmine’s Bedwell’s mother, said her daughter has been treated and released from a hospital.
Asked if she could describe what the day had been like for her, Lillie Bedwell said, “Hell.”
She said she didn’t know McTear. Asked if her daughter had mentioned what had happened, Lillie Bedwell said, “She can hardly talk.”
The Hillsborough County School District said Bedwell last attended Adams Middle School in 2005-06. Lillie Bedwell said her daughter has been working on getting her GED.
McTear’s criminal history includes dozens of arrests, several of which involved domestic violence, Tampa police spokeswoman Andrea Davis said. His first arrest on domestic violence charges came when he was 14, Davis said. Details on that case are unavailable because he was a juvenile.
In 2007, McTear avoided prosecution on felony criminal domestic battery by strangulation charges when the victim waived prosecution. That case didn’t involve Bedwell. In that incident, police said, he beat his girlfriend up, stole her car with their 3-year-old child in the back seat, gave the child back and burned the car.
Sheriff’s Maj. Harold Winsett said the infant’s death was tragic. The veteran investigator said it is hard to put into words how or why someone would hurt an innocent child.
“You never get used to this type of a case,” he said. “You never get used to this type of a crime.”
Elizabeth Fuelner, who lives two doors east of McTear’s home, said she didn’t know him but the police were at McTear’s place a lot.
Debra Cohen, who lives nearby, said she was awakened this morning by the sound of a police helicopter.
“They do their thing. Nobody messes with them,” she said of the people at McTear’s home. “There’s always a lot of people on their porch. Every weekend there are parties and a lot of fighting.”
Thomas, the child’s great aunt from St. Petersburg, said the boy’s incarcerated father is devastated and hopes to get a furlough to attend the funeral services.
He’s “not doing good,” she said.
As for Jasmine Bedwell, Thomas said the teenager was a good mother who always tried to do right by her only son.
“She was trying to be the best mom she could,” Thomas said of Bidwell, “If you saw her, you saw her son with her.”
In the injunction Bedwell had sought against McTear, she claimed he had violent tendencies, was armed and dangerous and had a drug problem, court records show. In a document, she said McTear had wanted to get his things last month, she refused and called deputies. Deputies arrived, but after they left, he entered the apartment complex on North 15th Street, got out of his vehicle, forced his way into her home and beat her, she said.
Talking about McTear is difficult for Thomas.
“He should get what he did to that baby,” she said. “How could you hurt a baby? That’s the devil’s work.”
As he was being led into a van that would take him to jail, McTear spoke again to the media.
He said he loves Bedwell.
And he professed his innocence.