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Archive for Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Boardwalk fire hearing gets under way

Preliminary hearing for Jason A. Rose expected to last 3 days

February 22, 2006

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Testimony is under way this morning in the preliminary hearing for the 20-year-old Lawrence man charged with setting a deadly fire at Boardwalk Apartments.

Lawrence Police officer David Ernst, the first officer on the scene of the fire, was the first witness this morning and testified for about an hour. He described initially thinking it was only a porch fire and then realizing it was much worse. He described helping an injured Kansas University student, Leigh McHatton, who had burns on her hands, feet and face.

McHatton took the stand after Ernst and described waking up in her apartment, opening the front door and seeing flames all around. She put on flip-flops and a hooded sweatshirt, put a blanket over her head, and ran out into the fire.

McHatton suffered third-degree burns on her hands and feet, second-degree burns on her face, and was in intensive care for a week at University of Kansas Hospital. She held up her scarred hands in court and showed them to District Court Judge Jack Murphy.

This is the first day of testimony in the preliminary hearing for Jason Rose, who's charged with three counts of murder, one count of aggravated arson and eight counts of aggravated battery. The hearing is expected to last three days.

For more on this story, see the 6News reports at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Sunflower Broadband's channel 6 and pick up a copy of Thursday's Journal-World.

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