Archive for Friday, February 2, 2007

Judge allows confession in murder, arson case

February 2, 2007

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'Boardwalk Fire Trial' set to begin

The trial for Jason Rose - the man accused of starting an apartment fire that killed three people - will start next week with his confession allowed as evidence. Enlarge video

A man accused of starting a deadly apartment fire will stand trial next week - and the jury will hear his confession.

Attorneys for Jason A. Rose, 21, had asked Douglas County District Judge Jack Murphy to rule that Rose's confession to police wasn't voluntary because of the arson and murder suspect's history of abuse and mental illness.

Murphy wrote a memorandum allowing the confession last week, but didn't make the decision public until a motions hearing Thursday.

Rose faces charges including three counts of felony murder and one count of aggravated arson in connection with an October 2005 fire at Boardwalk Apartments.

At Thursday's hearing, Murphy indicated that he'd allow the confession - as well as a defense expert witness who is expected to question the validity of the confession.

The witness, Kansas University professor Yolanda Jackson, will use her interviews with Rose and expertise in child psychology to show "how what he said might not have been reliable," said Rose's attorney, Ron Evans.

Assistant District Attorney Amy McGowan tried to block Jackson from testifying, but Murphy said Jackson could address Rose's mental state, not whether the confession was true.

Rose's defense attorney argued that there wasn't enough evidence to try Rose for murder.

"The intent has to be for the arson, and that was clearly shown," Murphy said.

During a September hearing, Lawrence police Detective Troy Squire testified about his interview with Rose after the fire.

Squire testified he interviewed Rose after learning he was a resident of the complex, in the 500 block of Fireside Drive, who had called 911 to report the fire.

Eventually, Rose admitted setting a piece of paper on fire outside the building, according to testimony at an earlier hearing. When police told him something that small couldn't have started the fire, Rose said he set a box of paperwork on fire.

The fire killed KU student Nicole Bingham, electrician Jose Gonzalez and social worker Yolanda Riddle. All three lived in the apartment complex at the time of the blaze.

Jury selection for the trial begins Tuesday, with presentation of evidence scheduled to begin Wednesday.

Comments

Sigmund 8 years, 4 months ago

Judge Murphy's decision to allow both the confession and the Kansas University professor's opinion on its validity probably pleases neither side. This is another good decision from this Judge which balances the rights of the State and the rights of the defendant and gives both sides what they want to argue in front of a jury.

Jerry Stubbs 8 years, 4 months ago

somebody probably hypnotized him and drugged him

yellowhouse 8 years, 4 months ago

It is hard to say if the fire was an accident or not without all the facts. Obviously this boy has lived a very difficult life with a lack of disipline.

I just want to say thank-you to the firefighters that were there risking their lives, non-judgemental, People are alive today because of their selfless courage.

Here is my tribute to our brave Firefighters of Lawrence.

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