Archive for Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Jury selected in Jason Rose trial

Arguments, testimony begin on Wednesday

February 6, 2007, 9:44 a.m. Updated February 6, 2007, 4:15 p.m.


Jury selection began this morning in the Jason Rose trial, with 100 people summoned so that attorneys can pick the 12 people who will ultimately decide the future of the man accused of setting a deadly fire.

The selection process began with Judge Jack Murphy telling the jury pool that he appreciated their coming efforts in what should be a trying, two-week-long murder trial.

Murphy instructed the jury pool what to expect, both during the selection process and later in court. Some of them wouldn't have to stay long, he said, depending on their experiences, their questionnaire answers and their seeming ability to hear testimony with a fair and open mind.

But that meant the potential jurors had to do their best to keep an open mind, Murphy said. He ordered the panel to avoid newspapers, television and other coverage of the case - and specifically, past coverage of Rose, who is accused of burning down part of the Boardwalk Apartment complex in October 2005, killing three and injuring more than a dozen others.

By this afternoon, the 101 people in the original jury pool will be cut in half, ready to answer attorney's questions to help whittle the pool down even further.

Regardless of how soon the jury is selected, Murphy said, the trial will likely start in earnest Wednesday morning.

¢ UPDATE: 11 a.m.: After questioning this morning, several potential jurors in the trial of Jason Rose have dropped out of the pool - some for close connections to fire victims and fire memories.

One potential juror who made it past the first cut - when attorneys narrowed the pool to 46 from the original 101 - dropped out after revealing she had been friends with one of the Boardwalk Apartment fire victims, Yolanda Riddle.

"Do you think this will have an affect on your ability to hear the case?" Assistant District Attorney Amy McGowan asked.

"Definitely," the potential juror replied, before being excused from the pool.

Others dropped out of the pool this morning for other reasons. Several jurors have expressed doubt in their ability to hear the case because of their exposure to media stories about Rose and the fire. McGowan told the pool both media and word-of-mouth could affect their ability to be fair and emotionless in court.

"This was a tremendous incident that has had a lasting impact," she said. "I think a lot of people have discussed it."

But some feelings about the trial came from elsewhere.

One juror told McGowan that he was a relative of Charles Glover, who died along with four of his grandchildren in a fire on New Jersey Street last summer. The potential juror told McGowan he couldn't hear the trial - the emotions of the fire that killed his brother-in-law were still too fresh.

McGowan asked that he be dismissed, and he left the jury assembly room.

Jury selection continues this afternoon.

¢ UPDATE 4 p.m.: Six men and six women will decide the fate of accused arsonists Jason Rose beginning Wednesday.

After more than six hours of sometimes intense questioning, Assistant District Attorney Amy McGowan and defense attorney Ron Evans picked 12 jurors from a pool of more than 100 - the 12 that gave attorneys every indication they'd be able to judge evidence against Rose without prejudice or emotion.

Rose's trial began with jury selection today. He's accused of killing three and severely injuring seven others in the Boardwalk Apartment fire Oct. 7.


Brent Cagle 11 years, 4 months ago

I honestly don't see how they're going to find 12 people who are not informed about this case already, or who don't have any kind of emotional bias towards the victims.

compmd 11 years, 4 months ago

I really wonder how this guy is going to get a just trial in this county.

Kontum1972 11 years, 4 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Crispian Paul 11 years, 4 months ago

Kontum, you don't know what happened and certainly the saying "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind" fits here. This kid had a rough life from what I know and is somewhat limited mentally. I knew Yolanda Riddle as well and I really believe, as her family has also expressed, that she would view Jason Rose with compassion and not want him to die for this.

Sheila Couchman 11 years, 4 months ago

Just because you had a rough life does not mean you can do illegal things and go unpunished. Life is what you make of it. There has to be responsibility for one's own actions.

Sigmund 11 years, 4 months ago

They will find a qualified jury. The standard is NOT "a juror (jury) must know nothing of the case nor seen any of the coverage." The standard is (loosely): "the ability to hear testimony with a fair and open mind and come to a decision based ONLY on the in court testimony and the law as given to them by Judge Murphy."

Crispian Paul 11 years, 4 months ago

meemaw, I understand what you are saying and I am not talking about personal responsibility, I am simply talking mitigating factors....

Baille 11 years, 4 months ago

I had a friend die in that fire. We are going to be getting an earful about it as the LJWorld exploi - covers - the trial. And I think we should all hold back until the evidence is in. This kid deserves a fair trial AND a fair shake in the crucible of public opiners. Burning a box of letters or something similar may be negligent. It may be criminally negligent. It may be manslaughter or even murder. And it may have been just a stupid mistake with tragic consequences. But none of us are in a position to say either way at this point. I hope we all exercise some restraint as the final act of this drama unfolds.

Sheila Couchman 11 years, 4 months ago

Crispian, I agree with you somewhat; however, it almost seemed as though the mitigating factors were thrown in as an afterthought by the young man's attorney. I have actually tried not to read all the articles about the trial coming up, just in case it was my turn to show up for jury duty.

caxap 11 years, 4 months ago

I was one of the 100 potential jurors and was not selected as one of the 12 jurors or two alternates. I just want to say that a we have a tremendous community in Lawrence. There were a lot of people willing to give freely of their time and decide this case based on the merits presented in trial. I often wonder about the impartiality of juries in well publicized cases, and I am confident that this case has an excellent, impartial jury. There actually are some members of the jury who had heard very little about this particular case. Maybe I'm a fool who trusts in people too much, but I was very impressed with the integrity of our community today.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.