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Judge rules any past criminal activity by John Jonchuck can't be brought up in opening testimony

John Jonchuck faces a first-degree murder charge in the death of his 5-year-old daughter.
John Jonchuck and Phoebe Jonchuck

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The trial for a father accused of throwing his 5-year-old daughter off of a Tampa Bay bridge four years ago is set to begin in March.

But before the trial gets underway, the defense filed a motion asking the judge Monday to eliminate any past criminal acts John Jonchuck, 29, might have been accused of from being brought up during the trial.

The only time they said criminal history should be brought up would be during expert testimony and rebuttal, and the judge ruled in the defense's favor.

Jonchuck's daughter, Phoebe, died Jan. 8, 2015, after falling more than 60 feet from Dick Misener Bridge in St. Petersburg. A responding police officer said he saw Jonchuck stop on the bridge, take Phoebe from the car and drop her over the edge of the bridge into Tampa Bay. 

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Jonchuck is charged with first-degree murder, aggravated fleeing and eluding and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on a law enforcement officer.

The defense and the state will meet once again in February to go over the jury questionnaire.

Jonchuck's trial is set to begin March 18.

RELATED: John Jonchuck's trial now set to begin in March

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