THE STUART NEWS
Father admits to telling son to get knife
Simmonsen staff writer
FORT PIERCE -- Edward Munao admits he
told his 6-year-old son to go in the kitchen and
grab a knife. But it was fear for his son's life,
not a desire to see the boy's mother dead, that made
him say those words, he told a jury on Wednesday.
Munao is on trial on charges of solicitation
to commit murder and child abuse after allegedly
telling the boy to get a knife and kill his mother
during a November 2003 phone call. Both sides rested
Wednesday and closing arguments will be delivered
Munao, 39, of Stuart, said he frequently
talked to his son on the phone in the years after
splitting up with the boy's mother, Jodi Walsh, who
lived in Port St. Lucie and had custody of their two
children. While Walsh and other witnesses testified
the boy had violent temper tantrums, Munao
said the child never behaved that way in his
On Nov. 17, 2003, Munao said his son called
him on the phone screaming hysterically and crying
for help. Thinking the boy was in real danger,
Munao said he told him to get a knife to defend
"I was panicking. I was scared for his life," he
He never thought the child would actually get a
knife and kill Walsh, Munao said. He did
think Walsh could harm the boy, though, and called
the state Department of Children & Families twice in
2003 after he said he learned Walsh became physical
with the boy.
Munao disputed Walsh's testimony, saying he
never told his son to hit his mother, did not curse
in front of the child or disparage Walsh in
front of him and was mostly unaware of the child's
more violent outbursts.
During a heated cross-examination, Chief Assistant
State Attorney Tom Bakkedahl wrote the words
"defendant's lies" on a marker board and checked off
what he said were inconsistencies between Munao's
testimony and his previous statements.
Earlier in the day, prosecutors played a tape that
captured a conversation between the boy and his
father that occurred Nov. 18, 2003, the day after
Munao allegedly made the comments.
"What did I tell you to do? Go in the kitchen,"
Munao was heard saying. "Want me to do it for
The boy testified via videotape, saying he called
his father looking for "a solution" after his mother
told him he couldn't watch television on Nov. 17.
That was when his father told him to get a knife and
kill his mother, he said.
Prosecutors have argued Munao frequently
berated Walsh in front of the boy and encouraged him
to hit her, which culminated in his asking the child
to commit murder.
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