SARAH PROHASKA, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
April 15, 2005
Post, The (FL)
A father accused of telling his emotionally troubled
6-year-old son to "go into the kitchen, pick up a
knife and kill your mother" was acquitted Thursday
of a charge he solicited the boy to commit
However, a jury convicted Edward Munao, 39,
of Stuart, of child abuse and solicitation to commit
And after five hours of deliberations Thursday,
jurors announced they were unable to reach a verdict
on a charge of solicitation to commit second-degree
Chief Assistant State Attorney Tom Bakkedahl said
that although prosecutors believed Munao
tried to get the boy to kill his mother, Munao's
ex-girlfriend, the jury reached "a just verdict."
The state has no plans for a new trial on the charge
of solicitation to commit second-degree murder, on
which this jury was hung, he said.
"There's no need to retry this," Bakkedahl said.
"This was an appropriate verdict and the judge will
determine an appropriate sentence."
faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, but his
defense attorneys said they will ask Circuit Judge
Gary Sweet for time served with probation.
has been in jail awaiting trial for almost a year.
"We're pleased the jury could properly evaluate all
the evidence and see there was no way my client
could have been found guilty of solicitation of
first-degree murder," attorney Jerome Stone said.
Prosecutors argued that Munao encouraged his
son, who was diagnosed with a psychological disorder
and had a history of violence toward his mother, to
hit and harass her.
They played a tape his mother made of a phone call
between Munao and the boy on which Munao
said: "Do you need me to come over there and kill
her for you?"
said the words "get a knife" came out of his mouth
in the heat of the moment and out of fear for his
son, who he said called him up in a frenzy and
crying for help after his mother told him he
couldn't watch television.
For a moment, Munao said, he was afraid the
boy really needed to defend himself.
He said the jury only heard bits and pieces of his
conversation with the boy, and he was actually
trying to calm his son down.
said he disagrees with the boy's mother's belief in
spanking and corporal punishment.
He told jurors he never thought the boy would
actually stab her.
"I know in my brain he doesn't have the capacity to
do something like that," Munao testified. "I
never had any intention of him actually doing that."
Prosecutors disputed Munao's contention that
he was unaware of some of the boy's violent
behavior, including cursing at his mother, pulling
her hair and punching her.
They also pointed out that the state Department of
Children and Families found the mother was not
"He's a 6-year-old, and he was to be this man's
instrument in the crime," Bakkedahl said in closing
After the trial, defense attorney Linda Capobianco
still disputed that.
"There was no solicitation of murder," she said. "It
just wasn't there."
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.