Archive for Monday, February 12, 2007

Rose Trial: Jurors watch tape of second interview

Detective says he couldn’t figure out Rose’s shifting stories

February 12, 2007, 10:22 a.m. Updated February 12, 2007, 11:55 a.m.


Jurors in the murder trial of Jason Rose prepared this morning to watch the second interview that police conducted with Rose just days after the Boardwalk Apartments fire.

Rose, who is accused of starting the fire that killed three people, had been placed under arrest the night before the second interview was conducted Oct. 11, 2005. On the witness stand today, Police Sgt. Troy Squire told jurors that he had some unanswered questions leading up to the nearly seven-hour interview.

Squire said that Rose confessed in the first interview that he started the fire, but said he only set a piece of paper on fire and set it down - something Squire didn't believe could have set the entire complex ablaze.

"It was my opinion: He's minimizing what he had done," Squire said.

But going into the second day, Squire said he knew from fire investigators that the blaze had indeed started where Rose said he lit the fire - on the second floor walkway near a stairwell.

In previewing the video, Squire told jurors that he was still confused as to why Rose has such an issue with fire - and why he denied having set the fire even though he confessed to doing it the day before.

"It's just something I couldn't get my hands on," Squire said.

Update 11:54 a.m.

Under pressure from investigators, Jason Rose was mostly silent during the first hours of a second police interview that was conducted days after the Boardwalk Apartments fire.

Jurors in Rose's arson and murder trial today are watching the interview, recorded Oct. 11, 2005, the day after Rose was arrested under suspicion of starting the blaze that killed three people.

Christy Weidner, Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent, encouraged Rose to explain his motivations for starting the fire, the video showed.

"I can tell you're thinking about telling us," Weidner told Rose as he sat silently, head in his clasped hands. "Whatever it is, you can tell us."

But Rose said little - except to confirm what he had told them in an interview the previous day: That he had lit a single piece of paper on fire on the complex's second-floor walkway and that was how he thought the blaze started.

Even though ATF investigators told Weidner and Sgt. Troy Squire that the fire did indeed start on the second-floor walkway, Squire told Rose he was convinced a single sheet of paper couldn't have started the conflagration.

Squire and Weider again brought up Rose's history with starting fires.

"I don't see why you guys brought up my past," Rose said in the interview.

Jurors will continue viewing the tape throughout the day.


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