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Emotional Maltreatment Statutes Summary

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Man allegedly told son to kill
   Derek Simmonsen staff writer
A Stuart man is on trial for solicitation to commit murder and child abuse after being accused of trying to get his son to kill the boy's mother. FORT PIERCE -- Edward Munao often talked to his son on the phone, but one particular conversation is at the heart of prosecutors' case against him.

"That defendant told his 6-year-old son to go in the kitchen, grab a knife and kill his mother," Assistant State Attorney Daryl Krauza told jurors during his opening statement Tuesday.

Munao, 39, of Stuart, is on trial for solicitation to commit murder and child abuse after being accused of trying to get his son to kill the boy's mother, Jodi Walsh, in November 2003. Walsh and Munao had two children. They split up in 1999 and Walsh took custody of the children.

Over a period of time, Munao encouraged the boy to hit and kick his mother and constantly insulted and degraded her, Krauza said. The boy has oppositional defiant disorder, which was exacerbated by Munao's influence and led the child to throw tantrums that included curse words, hitting and biting, Krauza said.

Everything culminated when Munao allegedly told the boy to kill his mother, a conversation overheard by Walsh on a speakerphone, Krauza said.

During a taped conversation the next day, Munao said, "I told you what to do. Do you need me to come over there and kill her for you?"

Defense attorney Linda Capobianco said Walsh and Munao had a less-than-perfect relationship and the pair disagreed on Walsh's use of corporal punishment, among other things. Walsh allowed the boy to frequently call Munao because it calmed him down, she said during her opening statement.

"There are going to be some ugly allegations and they are just that -- allegations," she said.

Munao plans to take the stand in his defense, she said.

Among the witnesses Tuesday were Walsh, 35, who testified her son frequently acted out against her and hit her at Munao's urging. She was granted a domestic violence injunction against Munao in July 2003 and took her son to a psychologist for treatment, she said.

A principal at the boy's school testified the child hit students and teachers, but has been better behaved since his father's arrest.

An investigator with the state Department of Children & Families testified she investigated Walsh twice after complaints from Munao and did not find any evidence of child abuse.

Prosecutors will continue presenting their case today and testimony could stretch into Thursday.

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