Jurors find Stuart
man guilty of urging son, 6, to harm ex-wife
Simmonsen staff writer
FORT PIERCE -- Jurors didn't believe Edward
Munao wanted his 6-year-old son to kill his
mother, but they found Thursday he did want the boy
to seriously harm her. Munao, 39, of Stuart
was accused of telling his son to go in the kitchen,
get a knife and kill his mother during a November
2003 phone call. He was found guilty Thursday of
solicitation to commit aggravated battery and child
abuse in connection with the incident.
The more-serious charges -- solicitation to commit
first- and second-degree murder -- turned out
differently. The jury found him not guilty of
solicitation to commit first-degree murder and could
not reach a decision on second-degree murder after
about five hours of deliberations.
"The verdict was a just verdict," said Chief
Assistant State Attorney Tom Bakkedahl. "We respect
the jury's verdict."
The outcome came with mixed feelings for the boy's
mother, Jodi Walsh, he said. Munao and Walsh
split up in 1999 and she lives in Port St. Lucie
with their two children.
"She does not take any pleasure in this," he said.
"To the extent that it helps her child, she's
Defense attorney Jerome Stone Jr. said he was
pleased the jury did not believe all of the
prosecution's case, a sentiment echoed by attorney
"No solicitation of murder. Just wasn't there. He
wouldn't do that to his child," she said.
Munao had "mixed emotions" as to the verdict,
as he never intended for the child to harm his
mother, Stone said. He was relieved there is some
conclusion to the case, and hopefully begin to move
on with his life, Capobianco said.
During his closing statement, Bakkedahl said
Munao often encouraged his son to hit and insult
his mother, which exacerbated the child's already
violent behavior. That encouragement culminated in
the November phone call.
"He created a monster," Bakkedahl said. "(The boy)
was to be this man's instrument of the crime. Pick
up a knife and stab your mother."
Capobianco and Stone cast doubt on the credibility
of the prosecution's witnesses, saying all of the
negative information about Munao came from
only one source: Walsh.
"It's not just saying the words. Words are not
enough," Capobianco said. "There's no evidence he
did anything but love his children."
Prosecutors will not re-try Munao on the
solicitation to commit second-degree murder charge,
Disclaimer: Material on this site is for informational purposes only and does not imply
or endorsement. The views and opinions expressed are
solely those of the authors and/or publications and do not necessarily represent
or reflect the official opinions or positions of
CHILDS CRY FOR HELP INC.