Archive for Friday, February 9, 2007

Jurors watch taped police interrogation of Rose

February 9, 2007, 10:22 a.m. Updated February 9, 2007, 2:50 p.m.


Police interview of Jason Rose

Video shown to jurors of the interrogation of Jason Allen Rose after the Boardwalk Fire in 2005. Enlarge video

Audio Clips
Boardwalk Fire trial witness testimony, day 3

When Lawrence police Detective Troy Squire first took Jason Rose back to the burned-out shell of the Boardwalk Apartments, he didn't consider the then 20-year-old a suspect in the blaze. He didn't even consider the apartment fire an arson.

But Squire testified today, as he had during preliminary hearings last February, that a call from an employee at Social and Rehabilitation Services changed his line of thinking. "He was definitely a person of interest, at least," Squire, a seargent with the Lawrence Police Department, told the jury in Rose's murder and arson trial today.

The SRS employee "immediately responded" that Rose had a history with fire, Squire said. More than five hours later, after Rose allegedly admitted during a police interview that he started a fire on the second-floor walkway that grew out of control, Rose was arrested under suspicion of starting the fire the killed three people.

Squire said that he didn't know where or how the fire started when he interviewed Rose Oct. 10 - a fact prosecutors need to maintain to show Squire wasn't prodding Rose for the answers he wanted to hear.

However, Squire said near the beginning of his testimony today that he had heard from other Boardwalk residents that the fire may have started near the middle of the 76-unit complex.

That's why Rose's original statement saying he thought the fire started on the far south end of the building struck Squire as odd, he said.

"In my mind, that was the furthest place away from his apartment, like distancing. I found that unusual," Squire told the jury.

Before Squire took the stand, fire victim Maritza Lamberto admitted under cross-examination from defense attorney Ron Evans that she got only a glancing look the man screaming on the second-floor walkway of the apartments the night of the fire - a man she identified in court Thursday as Rose.

"When he turned, I saw him, and I continued walking," Lamberto said through an interpreter today. Lamberto also denied that she told police days after the fire that the man she saw was black, and was yelling at another person in a car who was yelling back. Evans read from the police reports during the questioning.

But under new questioning from Assistant District Attorney Amy McGowan, Lamberto insisted that the man she saw that night was the same man she saw during a preliminary hearing in February 2006.

Now, Squire will tell the jury what Rose allegedly said during his hours-long interview with police, and prosecutors will show jurors the first segment of the videotaped police interview.

Update at 1:36 p.m.

Jason Rose changed his story at least once about where he first saw the flames of the Boardwalk Apartments fire, a taped police interview showed.

Jurors today saw the first hour of Rose's first taped interview with police. It showed Rose with his hand on his forehead, rubbing his temples in silence while Sgt. Troy Squire interrogated him.

In the first hour of the interview that was taped Oct. 10, Rose said that he went outside of his apartment twice after returning from a shift at Taco Bell, where he worked at the time.

He went outside to smoke cigarettes at 11:30 p.m. and at 11:50 p.m., even though he said he only smoked about two cigarettes a day.

Then Rose said he heard some commotion and went outside to see what it was.

"And what do you see?" Squire asked him during the interview.

"I see the glow from the fire," Rose said.

When interviewed by police the day before, he told Squire that he first saw flames near the far south end of the building at 524 Fireside Drive. But in the taped interview, he told Squire and an investigator from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that he first saw the flames in the middle of the building near the 516 Fireside Drive section of the complex.

"Do you see the difference between the statement you gave us yesterday and what you just told us?" Squire asked him.

Rose then put his head down, rubbed his temples with his thumb and forefinger.

"I guess, I'm a little confused," he said.

Rose then changes his story back, claiming that he first saw the fire at the south end of the complex, the tape showed.

Rose also told Squire that he waited in his apartment three minutes on hold with emergency dispatchers while the building burned around him. He was explaining the lag between when he first called 911 and when he arrived across the street.

Jurors will continue watching the video this afternoon.

Update at 2:49 p.m.

When the staff at Elm Acres group home in Pittsburg wouldn't let Jason Rose watch the Power Rangers television show, he decided to take a lighter out of his roommate's top dresser drawer and burn something.

"I took a lighter from a roommate and lit a glove on fire," Rose told Sgt. Troy Squire during a taped interview. "I kind of got even with the house staff."

Rose's admittance came almost two hours into a police interview played today for jurors during his murder trial. Rose is accused of starting the Boardwalk Apartments fire Oct. 7, 2005, that killed three people.

The confession came after Rose repeatedly denied he knew anything about the glove fire - a fire police learned about from SRS records.

"I'm telling you the honest truth. I've never done anything like that," Rose said after Squire questioned him about the incident.

Squire pressured Rose after Rose repeatedly denied setting a glove on fire as the SRS report said.

"Is that because we're talking about a fire at your apartment?" Squire asked during the taped interview.

"No," Rose said. "I don't remember ever, ever doing that."

"I think you do. I think you do, Jason," Squire said.

"No," Rose said.

"I think you do, and you're not telling us because of what we're investigating," Squire said.

Rose eventually admitted he was curious about fire.

Squire asked Rose if his curiosity stemmed from his history of abuse. For example, the scars he had on his arms where his father allegedly burned him with a cigarette lighter.

Jurors continue to listen to the taped interview.


50YearResident 11 years, 4 months ago

Jason Rose is a "Pyromaniac" and as such needs to be put into jail for everyones saftey.

Symptoms and diagnosis Pyromaniacs are known to have feelings of sadness and loneliness, followed by rage, which leads to the setting of fires as an outlet.For a positive diagnosis, there must be purposeful setting of fire on at least two occasions. There is tension or arousal prior to the act, and gratification or relief when it is over. It is done for its own sake, and not for any other motivation. In some cases it is all about the pleasure of seeing what other people have to do to extinguish the fire, and the pyromaniac may enjoy reading of the effects of what they have done. Many arsonists claim that they just like to set fires for the sake of fires and the blaze of dancing flames. Many pyromaniacs feel a relief of stress in watching things burn or smother, and the condition is fueled by the need to watch objects burn.

LovelyAngel315 11 years, 4 months ago

I don't necessarily think jail is the best place for someone with the mentality of a 7 year old. I feel another type of facility would be better. I pray that the judge sees that.

m1983 11 years, 4 months ago

you pray that the judge sees that? maybe some place like his previous homes that don't offer the same supervision so he can kill more people?

whatever happen to responsibility of actions?!

truth_society 11 years, 4 months ago

We were never really friends, but I used to know Jason. We were in the same youth group for a while.

Jason is a Pyromaniac.

When he was still 17 and living in the group home, he told me ( and several others in youth group) that as soon as he moved out into his own apartment space, he was going to set it on fire. When he talked about it is was like he became a different person, his voice became louder and he was very passionately going on and on, telling people details. When one twelve year old boy in the group asked him; "What about the people?" Jason replied; " Who cares?"
When kids responded with: "But you'd have to go to jail!" Jason said that it would all be worth the thrill.

I was horrified by what he said that night, but it was hard to believe it would actually happen. I (and a couple other youth group members) told the leaders, but they didn't take us seriously. "He's not really gonna do that..." They said.

I'm not saying that Jason doesn't have a mentality of a seven year old. But this isn't a situation where he was forced to confess to something he didn't do, as his defence attorney says. This fire is something he had been dreaming about and planning for years. Starting that fire was so important to him that he didn't care what happened to the people.

Wilbur_Nether 11 years, 4 months ago

50YearResident, was that quoted directly from the DSM IV?

daman 11 years, 4 months ago


why do you think he has the mentality of a 7 year old, because a defense hired shrink says so? Come on, you can get some shrinks to testify to anything if you pay him/her enough. Sometime take a look at court records and you'll see the same doctors testifying again and again for the defense and it's never their fault. If this man has the mentality of a 7 year old, I feel bad for him but not nearly as bad as I do for the victims and families who have suffered because he's "7". Now you know why tigers eat their young and why there are no three legged wilderbeast running around in the wild.

mom_of_two 11 years, 4 months ago

If you remember this boy has some form of Autism and from what I know about Autism they do not process things that happens in real life as a normal person does..

Christine Anderson 11 years, 4 months ago

Dear "truth": You might consider calling Det. Squires and telling him what you posted. I don't know if they could use it this late into the process( the trial), but that kind of info could be useful.

m1983 11 years, 4 months ago

it does NOT matter WHAT mental illness he has, his actions are still HIS actions and he killed 3 people and injured and ruined lives of many others.. i am sick of this 7 year old mentality, autism crap - it doesn't change what he did.

Bob Kidder 11 years, 4 months ago

Truth_Society - I would like to confirm your allegation. Just respond with the first names of the youth leaders.

Bob Kidder 11 years, 4 months ago

Once again, many have proven that our society does not believe "innocent until proven guilty".

Bob Kidder 11 years, 4 months ago

mom_of_two - Jason does not have Autism.

LovelyAngel315 11 years, 4 months ago

Daman, no its not just because a shrink said so. I know Jason and he definitely does not have the mentality of a 20 year old. I don't know whether he did it or not, and if he did, he definitely needs to pay for it. But I don't think prison would do anything but make him worse. If he gets out 20 years from now, I would be even more fearful. And I don't mean a "group home" like he's been in, I mean more of a secure mental hospital. And knowing Jason, he's not a bad guy, but he really doesn't understand reality and consequences. Apparently, I must know truth_society(whoever you are), and I have heard the same allegations from some people before, but didn't hear it myself so I don't know if its true or not. BTW, I lived in Boardwalk during the fire and had to evacuate in the middle of the night with my 1 1/2 year old daughter and was 9 months pregnant with my son, so I do have personal experience with it.

daman 11 years, 4 months ago

if what "truth" says is true then Jason should be "cooked". "Truth" really does need to contact law enforcement and provide them with the information including names of others who may have heard the same. This goes to his state of mind. It's NOT too late to present this kind of evidence because the state can use it in rebuttle. DO IT "TRUTH" and if you don't want to, post it in here and the cops that monitor this board will take it from there.

daman 11 years, 4 months ago

Angel, knowing Jason and saying he does not have the mentality of a 20 year old is a far cry from your earlier post where you said he had the mentality of a 7 year old. You're backing up now. Stop making excuses for him. That's the biggest problem with our society, we constantly make excuses for people instead of holding them accountable. I could give two squirts if he comes out of prison worse, I do know for the next twenty plus years he won't be setting fires putting innocent people in harms way. Think about it, most people who commit heinous crimes are sick in some way, does that mean we don't lock them up?

LovelyAngel315 11 years, 4 months ago

No, we just lock them up in different places. And I'm not backing up, I believe he could have the mentality of a 7 year old. I'm not making excuses, and I've said all along if he did it he should pay. I just hope they make the right decision, and I'm pretty confident they will. It's always been on his record that he's not "right". It's not like its something new they just made up as a defense like in some cases. That's all I wanted to say. I didn't really want to get into a debate.

daman 11 years, 4 months ago

that's fine Angel but I think if he intentionally set that fire, and it sounds like he did, I don't care about his reasons why or how dumb or autistic he is, he should pay with his life, I mean liberty. There are three people dead, many physically injured, scared and emotionally damaged for life.

Bob Kidder 11 years, 4 months ago

Many are missing the whole point. The defense is NOT saying Jason has the mentality of a 7 year old and therefore should not be held accountable for starting a fire. The defense IS saying that his mental capabilities caused him to confess to something that he did NOT do. Jason has an absolute history of saying what people want to hear. In this case Jason clearly asked, "What do you want me to say?" and then said it. This will be shown on the interview. With only a few hours of interview shown to the jury they have already witnessed him saying that he did NOT start the fire three times. They have also witnessed him repeating the phrases of the detectives (such as "rolling flames").

The prosecution's job is to present evidence to support their conclusion. The defense must rebut that evidence. The jury has to weigh both sides and decide the fate of this young man. Many here are reaching their decision based on half of the argument. For example, the prosecution places into evidence a document that says Jason started a fire while in a group home prior to moving to the Boardwalk Apartments. The prosecution purposely circumvents other details so that a jurist's conclusion is that Jason started other recent fires. The defense must then bring to light the rest of the story. First he will show that the incident happened over six years ago, not just before he moved to Boardwalk. Second, the "fire" was a smoldering latex glove in a trashcan. Third, Jason's roommate at the time was also credited with this incident since staff did not know who did it and neither would admit to it. Fourth, Jason denied the incident during interrogation because he was not aware of the incident. And, yes Jason may not have known of this report until the interview since most documents in a youth's file are confidential and not accessible to the youth. When the report is shown to him he then parrots what the detective said happened. This particular report lacked so much credibility that it failed the test for retention in Jason's placement history. Now with all that said a decision can be reached with full knowledge, rather than one with half knowledge and half ignorance, of the facts. Some may decide that the Elm Acres incident proves Jason is a fire starter; others may decide that it is not relevant due to how long ago it happened, credibility as to whether he or his roommate did it, or that a smoldering glove does not equal arson.

Most importantly, those of us ignorant to all the facts Prosecutorial and Defensive will not be deciding Jason's fate; a jury who will consider ALL the evidence, however, will decide. May God grant them wisdom.

truth_society 11 years, 4 months ago

Think_b4u_speak: You want a list of the first names of the youth leaders. may I ask why? Even if they had taken Jason's threats seriously when me and others warned them, there was not much they could have done. They couldn't have put him in prison just for the way he talked, could they? He was almost 18 at the time, and very set in what he was going to do, no matter what anyone could have said. So unless you are an investigator, I don't see the value in saying their names.

Bob Kidder 11 years, 4 months ago

Truth - I would like to validate your story. It does not match anyone else that knows Jason. I know, and have talked with, most of the youth and leaders that Jason knew - none have expressed any concerns such as yours. The first name of your youth leader would allow me to validate, or repudiate, your story. By only giving me a first name you would not impugn anyone.

friend_of_victim 11 years, 4 months ago

mom of two- Would it hurt you less if one of your children was murdered by someone with autism (and I am pretty sure that he doesn't have autism)? Would you hurt less to know that your child was BURNED to death. That your child was not lucky enough to inhale enough smoke to go to sleep. That your child was burned so badly that there wasn't even any blood left to test at the autopsy. Would it hurt you less to know that someone who has "problems" was the one that murdered your child? You infuriate me! STOP making excuses for some KID who was mad about his life and start giving your condolences to the families of the victims!

Bob Forer 11 years, 4 months ago

In 1976, the United States Supreme Court handed down United States v. Dinitz, which held that a defendant's motion for mistrial ordinarily removed any double jeopardy bar to retrial. The Court recognized an exception for "governmental actions intended to provoke mistrial requests and thereby subject defendants to the substantial burden of multiple prosecutions." Retrials would be barred "where 'bad-faith conduct by judge or prosecutor' . . . threatens the '[harassment] of an accused by successive prosecutions or declaration of a mistrial so as to afford the prosecution a more favorable opportunity to convict' the defendant." With regard to the case before it, the Court held that the conduct in question "was not done in bad faith in order to goad the respondent into requesting a mistrial or to prejudice his prospects for an acquittal."

Evans had no choice but request a mistrial. Tf truth_society is the newly discovered witness, then his testimony compromises the entire defense strategy, something which is immutable given that he already revealed his hand to the jury in opening statements.

The prosecution is treading on very thin ground. Obviously, the state was unable to corroborate the veracity of truth-society by interviewing the other boys at the youth home who also allegely heard these statements, because if they had, then the state would have sought to add those boys as witnesses as well. I think the prosecution may have mislead Judge Murphy. Had Judge Murphy known that Rose had allegedly made the same statement to several boys, then I doubt he would have allowed the one witness to testify without corroboration.

If this is the case, then Rose's attorney will file a motion to dismiss based on double jeopardy. He could walk.

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