Archive for Friday, February 9, 2007

Witness says she saw Rose screaming before fire

February 9, 2007


Boardwalk Fire Trial: Day 2

One after another, victims of the Boardwalk Apartment Fire describe their harrowing escape from the burning building, as testimony resumes today in Douglas County District Court. Enlarge video

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Boardwalk Fire trial witness testimony

Maritza Lamberto testified Thursday that she watched Jason Rose as he stood on the second-story walkway at Boardwalk Apartments about an hour before a fire that killed three tenants.

She said he yelled an obscene two-word phrase twice - the only two words in English that she knew.

"As I went up(stairs), he continued to scream and yell," Lamberto said through an interpreter.

Lamberto's testimony capped the second day of evidence in Rose's murder trial. Rose has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder, one count of aggravated arson and seven counts of aggravated battery in connection with the Oct. 7, 2005, fire.

Lamberto said she saw Rose, clad in a white T-shirt and pajama pants, yelling from the second-floor balcony when she arrived home from work.

She hadn't seen him before that night, but recognized him at the preliminary hearing last February. Until the preliminary hearing, she hadn't realized the same man she saw screaming on the balcony was the suspect in the fire.

After the preliminary hearing, police re-interviewed Lamberto, she said.

If true, Lamberto's story may bolster the prosecution's contention that Rose started a fire on the second-floor walkway the night the apartment building burned down - something Rose admitted to police during interrogation days after the fire.

Rather than cross-examining Lamberto on Thursday, Rose's attorney, Ron Evans, asked Judge Jack Murphy to recess court.

Other testimony on Thursday gave jurors further insight into the investigation.

Detective Jim Martin told the jury about two warranted searches of Rose's apartment, sport utility vehicle and the area around the burned building.

Inside Rose's water-logged apartment, Martin testified that he and agents from the Kansas State Fire Marshal's office and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives found two lighters and a can of lighter fluid along with photographs in a cardboard box in the middle of Rose's living room floor.

"Photographs of him, basically, through his life," Martin explained to Assistant District Attorney Amy McGowan during questioning.

Those items were found during a second search of Rose's apartment on Oct. 13, 2005, after interviews with Rose pointed police toward what to search for, Martin said. He said interviews revealed that days before the fire, Rose had been shipped a box containing some old photos and other remnants of the then 20-year-old's past.

Martin said investigators also found a second can of lighter fluid on a railing one door down from where he lived.

But Martin admitted under questioning from Evans that he couldn't tell if any of the photographs found in Rose's apartment had been burned, or if the cardboard box the photos were in had a shipping label on them. As with most everything else in the apartment, Martin said the cardboard box was so damaged by water that it fell apart when touched.

Martin also admitted he didn't know how much liquid was in the metal lighter fluid containers when police served the search warrant. The investigators kept only a sample of each liquid then dumped out the rest, Martin testified.

Also, Martin said dogs from the Fire Marshal's office found no sign of accelerants in Rose's apartment or vehicle.

Several fire victims, including former Kansas University student Eli Greenbaum, his girlfriend, Dawn Davis, and former resident Demarquis Maybell talked about their experiences of jumping from third-story windows to avoid the fire.

Douglas County Coroner Erik Mitchell testified that all three of the fire's fatality victims - KU student Nicole Bingham, social worker Yolanda Riddle and electrician Jose Gonzalez - died from fire-related injuries.

Jurors sat in silence while Mitchell showed graphic photos of all three victims during autopsies, explaining that carbon monoxide poisoning likely contributed to their deaths.

Testimony is scheduled to continue today.


Dani Davey 11 years, 4 months ago

bozo, if they have a translator in the court (which presumably they do) then how does this violate his constitutional rights? Nothing in the Constitution says that all witnesses against you have you speak English.

Bob Kidder 11 years, 4 months ago

Smitty, No and No. The domestic call was just that - people who had a common domicile; Jason lived alone. The unrelated call of Officer Ernst was investigation of an earlier car burglary on 23rd Street.

Claire Williams 11 years, 4 months ago

Dani, bozo was being facetious. There is currently a bill over at the KS house to make English the official language, thereby removing Spanish from official documents like ballots, aid applications, and such.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 4 months ago

Rose's attorneys should seek to have Lamberto's testimony thrown out. If she can't testify in English, it's just downright unamerican, and violates Rose's constitutional rights. At least that's what I hear around here and over in the legislature in Topeka.

gerbilsniper 11 years, 4 months ago

Can someone PLEASE explain to me that if he confessed to starting a box on fire full of photographs and it got out of hand and set the building on fire, he is being charged with first degree murder? If he had no intention of even setting the building on fire, how can they say he intentionally killed these three people?

m1983 11 years, 4 months ago

There is more to it than just setting a box of photos on fire - - he has a history of being facinated by fires, watched the building burn down, etc. etc. I am not remembering clearly what was said last year about this, I need to look back at the articles, but my opinion is if he killed 3 people , injured dozens, and emotionaly traumatized the rest and had no remorse, it's first degree and he deserves the worst punishment

gerbilsniper 11 years, 4 months ago

Despite how miserable of a human being i think he is...i still think he's getting railroaded by the legal system and trying to be made an example of.

Eric Neuteboom 11 years, 4 months ago

Anybody else curious as to what the two words he was screaming were?

MyName 11 years, 4 months ago

gerbilsniper, according to the statute:

Murder in the first degree is the killing of a human being committed: (a) Intentionally and with premeditation; or (b) in the commission of, attempt to commit, or flight from an inherently dangerous felony as defined in K.S.A. 21-3436 and amendments thereto.

Arson is one of those felonies, so there you go.

nwbearcat 11 years, 4 months ago

The defense of "I didn't mean to" or "it got out of hand" is repugnant.

Arson is a horrific crime. It is no different than shooting, stabbing, beating, or drugging someone. Fires kill people.
I am mystified why some people seem to excuse intentional setting of fires. Setting a match to flammable material is no different than pulling a trigger. It is a conscious act.
Arsonists are the worst of killers, however. Once the fire starts, there is NO WAY to control it. It has a life of its own, and destroys everyone and everything in its way.

Ragingbear 11 years, 4 months ago

Everyone seems to be focusing on intent. It does not matter. It never mattered. Arson does not require intent to prove. Only that his actions could be reasonably forseen as dangerous to others or private property. Lighting a box of lighter fluid soaked cards and photographs on a wooden, partially rotted wooden walkway and then leaving it would cause any reasonable person to believe it would be a fire hazard.

If intent were part of the equasion. One could go so far as to shoot and kill somebody. Then at court they could testify "I didn't mean to shoot him. I was trying to shoot over his shoulder.". Again. One can reasonably assume that trying to shoot over another person's shoulder has a signifigant probability of getting shot.

justthefacts 11 years, 4 months ago

The law does not allow people to do inherently dangerous things (e.g. shoot a gun into an occupied house, set fires in a residential dwelling, use guns to rob banks, put poison into a sugar bowl, etc.) and then escape from all blame for the forseeable and/or natural outcomes of such conduct.

If that was an allowed defense, a ton of people would use it to escape punishment for deliberate actions that lead to deaths.

There is a difference between setting a fire in a fire place, or in a grill, that was expected to stay in that protected environment, or having an over-heated skillet of frying chicken accidently start a kitchen fire, and deliberately setting a box alight in a place where it was not contained.

The issue may become, in this case, whether Mr. Rose (a) set any fire at all and - if that's proved beyond a reasonable doubt (b) whether it was a fire set in such a way as to have a reasonably foreseeable chance of spreading.

Either way: the moral of story of the story appears to be " Do not set fires in apartments!"

50YearResident 11 years, 4 months ago

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

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.

Mike Blur 11 years, 4 months ago

CC, check out the Kansan's story: and you will see the "FU" phrase in print. THe UDK is generally tolerant of foul language when it's part of the story.

unklemonkey 11 years, 4 months ago

if he did this, he needs to be punished. that's all there is to it.

KUred06 11 years, 4 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus - please remember that the United States of America has yet to declare a national language. Therefore, your argument to declare the witness defunct due to her lack of knowledge of english, is useless. Please think before you write, victims' families and friends read these comments.

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