Archive for Monday, April 30, 2007

New arson trial for Rose begins today

Jason Rose stares at the prosecution during the second day of his trial.

Jason Rose stares at the prosecution during the second day of his trial.

April 30, 2007


6News video: Boardwalk Fire Re-trial begins Monday

The re-trial begins tomorrow for a Lawrence man accused of setting a deadly apartment fire in October of 2005. Enlarge video

The new murder and arson trial of Jason Allen Rose will begin this morning in Douglas County District Court as attorneys begin questioning a pool of potential jurors.

Prosecutors accuse Rose, 21, of burning down an apartment building in the Boardwalk Apartments complex on Oct. 7, 2005. The fire killed three people and severely injured seven others.

During Rose's first trial, Judge Jack Murphy declared a mistrial on Feb. 12 - the start of the trial's second week. Defense attorney Ron Evans had requested a mistrial after prosecutors tried to introduce a new witness who came forward during the trial.

About 80 Douglas County residents have been summoned to appear for jury selection, said Karen Curl, a court clerk staff member. Attorneys today will have an opportunity to question a pool of 42 juror prospects. Other candidates who were summoned will replace any candidates dismissed by Murphy during the questioning.

It took one day during the first Rose trial for each side to agree on a jury panel and then select a 12-person jury with alternates.

High-profile case

Prosecutors introduced much of the state's case during the first trial.

One criminal law expert says the two sides still should be able to seat enough jurors who can decide the case fairly based on the evidence, even if prospective jurors have been aware of media coverage in the case.

"There are cases that are more notorious than that one where juries have been able to be seated," said David Gottlieb, a Kansas University law professor who teaches courses on criminal law and criminal procedure.

Murphy has issued a gag order barring anyone involved in the case from speaking publicly, but attorneys likely will question potential jurors on how closely they followed coverage of the first trial.

During testimony in that trial, several apartment residents told of how they were injured escaping the burning building, and prosecutors stressed a video interview Rose had with investigators. During that interview, he admitted to lighting a piece of paper on fire on the second floor walkway of the complex the night of the fire and to having a history with lighting fires when he lived in a boys home in Pittsburg.

Prosecutors told jurors in the first trial that as long as they found that Rose started the fire that he could be convicted of the murder charges.

"Three people lost their lives in that fire, many more were injured, some horribly. The evidence will show it was deliberately set," Assistant Douglas County Attorney David Melton said during his opening statement Feb. 7.

New witness

One new witness this time is expected to be Emily Ruth Robinson of Lawrence, according to court records. She was served a subpoena on Feb. 10, after the first week of the trial had been completed. Police officers had investigated a Feb. 9 comment posted online in response to a Journal-World story; the poster stated that Rose had said "that as soon as he moved out into his own apartment space, he was going to set it on fire."

Murphy then declared a mistrial when prosecutors tried to introduce a new witness.

During his rebuttal case in the first trial, defense attorney Evans was expected to call Kansas University child psychologist Yolanda Jackson to testify that Rose's history with abuse as a child hindered his thinking during the interview three days after the fire.

"But (officers) kept after him and after him," Evans said during his opening statement. "So he does what a 7-year-old boy does. He gave them what they want to shut them up, so they'd leave him alone."

Rose also had been scheduled to take the stand in the first trial.

Attorneys' opening statements in the new trial will provide clues into each side's strategies this time around. The statements will indicate how far the evidence and strategy in the second trial will branch into new areas compared with the first trial.

Rose has been charged with three counts of murder, one count of aggravated arson and seven counts of aggravated battery. The fire killed social worker Yolanda Riddle, electrician Jose Gonzalez and Kansas University student Nicole Bingham.


TheGoldenBoy 10 years, 10 months ago

Take a good look at the picture of the person. He has "psycho" written all over him. The type of person that has no regard for other and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and given the maximun penalties. If this person is ever released, have him register himself as a menace to society and keep him under surveillence.

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years, 10 months ago

well it is on the other story but that only had two comments guess they still got some fixes to do.

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