FT. PIERCE TRIBUNE
May 19th 2005
Father gets 10 years for abuse
Simmonsen staff writer
FORT PIERCE -- Calling him narcissistic and a
pitiful excuse for a father, a judge sentenced
Edward Munao to 10 years in prison
Wednesday for trying to get his 6-year-old son to
stab his mother. Munao, 39, of Stuart, was
found guilty in April of child abuse and
solicitation to commit aggravated battery after
telling his son to get a knife and stab his mother
during a November 2003 phone call. Circuit Judge
Gary Sweet gave him the maximum possible sentence on
both counts -- five years -- and ordered the terms
be served back to back.
"You're someone who thinks it's all about you,"
Sweet told Munao. "You're indifferent to the
needs of others."
Munao's ex-girlfriend Jodi Walsh testified
during the hearing, criticizing the legal system for
how it handled the case and telling Sweet there was
a lot of information jurors did not get to hear. She
asked for psychiatric help to accompany any
punishment Munao received.
"Each year the emotional abuse would worsen," she
said. "Munao does not want to take
responsibility for his own actions against others."
Several family members spoke on Munao's
behalf during the hearing, including his mother,
Betty Munao, and a sister. They told the
judge he was a caring, loving father and criticized
Walsh's portrayal of him as an abusive, dangerous
"She never thought my son meant to kill her," Betty
Munao said of Walsh.
Defense attorney Jerome Stone Jr. had argued
Munao should receive a lighter sentence and be
given a chance to rehabilitate himself. Stone was
surprised by the judge's decision, and Munao
was disappointed in the outcome, he said.
They will review the trial notes to see whether
there is room for appeal, Stone said.
Chief Assistant State Attorney Tom Bakkedahl, who
prosecuted Munao, said he was pleased the
judge addressed the damage Munao had
inflicted on Walsh's relationship with her son.
"That was one of the most compelling sentencing
speeches I've heard a judge give," Bakkedahl said.
During the trial, prosecutors said Munao
encouraged the boy to hit and insult his mother,
culminating in the phone call where he asked the boy
to use a knife on her. The defense countered by
saying all of the negative information about
Munao came from only one source: Walsh.
Munao was acquitted during the trial of a
more serious charge of solicitation to commit
first-degree murder in connection with the same
incident. Prosecutors said Wednesday they would drop
a charge of solicitation to commit second-degree
murder against Munao, a charge the jury
deadlocked on in April.
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