- Detective describes interview as 'calm' (05-03-07)
- Witnessdescribes 'angriest' fire (05-02-07)
- Juryseated in Boardwalk fire retrial (05-01-07)
- Newarson trial for Rose begins today (04-30-07)
- Mistrial (02-12-07)
- Subpoenas to the World Company (.pdf)
- Commentto story "Jurors watch taped police interrogation of Rose" (02-09-07)
- Defenseto make its case this week in trial (02-12-07)
- Juryhears Rose admit setting fire at apartment (02-09-07)
- Witnesssays she saw Rose screaming before fire (02-09-07)
- Juryviews fire video (02-08-07)
They ask questions. He makes denials. They ask more questions. Occasionally, he changes his story slightly.
That's the basic dynamic jurors are watching unfold by video this morning on the third day of trial for a man charged with setting the deadly 2005 fire at Lawrence's Boardwalk Apartments. The video shows defendant Jason Rose being interviewed by Lawrence Police Det. Troy Squire and agent Christy Weidner of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The two detectives do most of the talking in the tape. They repeatedly press Rose to be honest with them and explain why he claims not to remember exactly what he did and where he went after he walked outside his apartment at the Boardwalk complex to smoke a cigarette the night of the fire.
"Something bad happened, and you choose not to bring it up and not talk about it because you know it's bad," Squire says at one point in the video.
Rose then asks what would happened if investigators found out "it was not me."
"I'm telling the truth... why would I set fire to an apartment building where I live? I wouldn't," Rose says in the video.
In a typical exchange, Squire tells Rose that scientists are examining the fire and will be able to say exactly what happened.
"Tell me what happened Thursday night before they tell me," Squire said. "Do you think you can do that?"
"I did not start that fire," Rose answers.
Jurors broke for a morning recess about 10:30 a.m., shortly after watching Rose tell the detectives he lit a piece of paper on fire that night, but that he thought it was out.
"What was on the piece of paper?" Weidner asks.
"You've got to give us more than just a piece of paper," Squire says.
As of 4:45 p.m., jurors are still watching videotaped footage of the interview with Jason Rose.
The video shows Rose changing his story on Oct. 11, his second day of talking with detectives. After telling them the previous night that he had set a piece of paper on fire on the second floor of the building and that the fire had spread, he backs away from that story to say that he had nothing to do with setting the fire.
"I did not start it," Rose says.
"You told us you did," Lawrence Police Detective Troy Squire says.
Federal agent Christy Weidner asks him, "Why did you say one thing yesterday and something different today?"
"I didn't know what to say," Rose answers. "I didn't know if it was going to be the truth or going to be a lie."