Archive for Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Boardwalk arson trial goes to jury

Final witnesses discuss suspect’s ability to tell truth from lies

May 9, 2007, 11:46 a.m. Updated May 9, 2007, 5:10 p.m.


A Douglas County jury is now deliberating whether Jason Rose was responsible for setting the Boardwalk Apartment Fire in 2005 that claimed the lives of three Lawrence residents.

Attorneys spent Wednesday afternoon making their closing arguments after a morning of testimony from both defense and prosecution witnesses. Amy McGowan, assistant district attorney, focused part of her closing testimony for the state on Rose's history with setting fires - a history Rose alluded to in a disputed police interrogation - leading up to his actions on Oct. 7, 2005, the day she said Rose started the blaze.

"Fire is something that's kept in a very protected place for him, it's something he can't talk about," she said in Douglas County District Court. "...It's something that got exposed for some reason on October 7."

Ron Evans, Rose's attorney, countered that the state hadn't produced evidence that directly linked Rose to the fire, aside from a confession from Rose that came in the midst of several hours of repeated questioning from detectives on Oct. 10 and Oct. 11, 2005. It was a situation, Evans said, that Rose sought to escape by giving a false confession. Defense experts said had behavior and thought patterns of someone much younger than Rose's 21 years, and had a history to confessing to crimes he hadn't committed.

"Jason learned early on that you need to please the supervisor, the authority figure that's in front of you," Evans said in his closing argument. "That's what he was trying to do on October 10 and October 11."

Both attorneys spoke extensively about Rose's interview with police following the fire, which has been a key element of the case.

McGowan said the defense's contention that Rose's admission came under duress was merely a smokescreen to his pattern of lying about events, only to tell the truth later on.

"Very simply, what that is is the horse is out of the barn and they've got to figure out how to get it back in," she said.

McGowan also reiterated the testimony of fire investigators, who insisted that the only could only have been set on purpose.

Evans attempted to discredit the testimony of several prosecution witness, such as Emily Robinson, who testified that she once heard Rose predict that someday he would set a massive fire. Evans said several witnesses to the supposed conversation reported they had no recollection that Rose made such a statement.

"I would submit to you, ladies and gentlemen, that you have a lot of reasonable doubt in this case," Evans said.

Rose stands accused of several counts of murder, arson and battery for the 2005 fire.

The apartment fire took the lives of Kansas University student Nicole Bingham, electrician Jose Gonzalez and social worker Yolanda Riddle.

Earlier in the day, one of Rose's former Lawrence High School teachers testified that Rose was a student who wanted to please everyone.

David Tenpenny, who had Rose in his automotive classes at LHS for three years, said was the type of student who was always the first student to arrive to class and the last student leave.

"Jason was not an A student ... but he was that person in your office, in your classroom before everyone else," Tenpenny said.

On cross examination, Tenpenny acknowledged that he believed Rose knew the difference between right and wrong.

Yolanda Jackson, a Kansas University professor in clinical child psychology who has done an assessment of Rose, said Rose had an IQ of 87, below average for intelligence.

She portrayed Rose as someone who sought approval from adults and could sometimes tell adults what they want to hear to gain that approval.

"That emotional delay he has ... makes it very hard for Jason to be accurate or reliable," she said.

Jackson did say under cross examination by Amy McGowan, assistant district attorney that Rose has examples in his background where he told lies when he got in trouble, and that his record suggested that he did know the difference between truth and lies.

Jackson was the last witness the defense called.

Prosecutors called one more witness on Wednesday.

Lawrence Police detective Lance Flachsbarth interviewed Rose's foster father Robert Kidder at 11:45 p.m. on Oct. 10, 2005, shortly after the fire. From that interview, Kidder said Rose was someone who often had a lighter, according to Flachsbarth's testimony.

Ron Evans, Rose's attorney, asked the detective whether Kidder had been sleeping before the late night interview, or if he had said he had taken a sleeping pill. Flachsbarth said he didn't know.


Ragingbear 10 years, 9 months ago

Hmm. Well, why don't you make a call to the DA tomorrow morning and find out? Or I could if you don't want to.

Linda Endicott 10 years, 9 months ago

Stop already with the threats, Ragingbear. What's your problem?

The man already gave his testimony. The trial is over, and in the hands of the jury. If the members of the jury are in any way "swayed" at this late date, it's because they didn't follow the instructions of the judge, in which case the jurists would be found in contempt of court, not the witnesses.

If there was a gag order, then the LJW wouldn't have been able to print anything that was said in court now, would they? Where on earth do you get your supposed information?

Ragingbear 10 years, 9 months ago

Prosecution appears to suck about as badly as the defense in this case. Gotta love the sheer incompetence prevalent in our legal system.

whatdoiknow 10 years, 9 months ago

Informed, perhaps you are actually ill-informed as to the possible effects of sleeping pills. I don't think the question is a proposterous as you make it sound.

50YearResident 10 years, 9 months ago

Smitty, If Rose gets off and he needs a place to live can he come to your house to live?

thanksforcoming 10 years, 9 months ago

So the fire inspectors came up with the fact that the blaze started from an external fire that was lit on the balcony. They didn't tell Rose how the fire started in questioning, and yet Rose came up with I started a piece of paper on fire and didn't think that it would get that big. I don't know, but that lie had alot of truth within it.

Bob Kidder 10 years, 9 months ago

Informed, Kidder will respond truthfully either way. The question asked by Mr. Evans was in response to a question regarding Jason's clothing on the night of the fire. The detectives discussed both of Jason's jobs during the interview. In the haze associated with waking from a deep sleep I believe the answer given to the detective described a Taco Bell shirt although it was named a Wendy's shirt. There was also a question as to whether I said Jason was "someone who often had a lighter." I maintain that I did not say that; although, one of the detectives did make the statement. I confirmed that Jason was a smoker and did use a lighter to light his cigarettes. It is far different to answer a "yes/no" question than to make an outright statement. The outright statement that the prosecution was attempting to credit to me would imply that I thought Jason was a "someone" who "often" carried a lighter end the statement here and the implication is that he would do this to start fires. My confirmation to the detectives that Jason carried a lighter was affirmation that he was a smoker, not a fire starter.

Now you may see this as a fine line: however, to me, it is a critical fine line.

Now you are "more informed."

Bob Kidder 10 years, 9 months ago

By the way - My (Anonymous) status should be changed to (Bob Kidder) as soon as LJW verifies.

Ragingbear 10 years, 9 months ago

Denak. Since you have already misconstrued my words, I have little doubt that you will grow up to be a wonderful lawyer. For now, I would suggest you start visiting your local law library, learn the system, and start reading. It's free to the public you know, it's required by law. You can also glean some info from your typical court TV type shows. You know, Judge Judy, Hatchet, Joe Brown, Christina, and a few others that are putting on more of a show than actually doing anything legal. You can also occupy your time attending random court cases. Look at things like people defending themselves in petty cases like traffic tickets, or go to small claims court. Many of the things that you will learn are what I would call "common sense" but that is the first thing to learn when you get a law degree.

By the way, Paralegal is just a fancy way of saying "Secretary that knows how to file court documents." So don't go acting like your some sort of law master or something all of a sudden. Go sit down next to the Paraeducator I ripped into a few days ago.

torcia 10 years, 9 months ago

Hey Raginbear why don't you go to law school then if you think you could do it better. Its a lot easier to sit back and criticise the legal system than to actually try to change it. Isnt it?

Avery Pearson 10 years, 9 months ago

criticism of the legal system is a necessary catalyst for change, regardless of your personal involvement in the system. It involves all of us, so shouldn't we all have the right to criticize shortcomings?

jayhawks71 10 years, 9 months ago

Why doesn't the journal world give the entire story regarding the IQ evidence. I am sure that Dr. Jackson would have been willing to put it in context. Barring some big changes recently, my understanding is that the average IQ is roughly (it can also be defined as) 100 with a standard deviation of about 15. Based on those criteria, 2/3 of the population has an IQ between 85 and 115. Mr. Rose's IQ, reported as 87, would be within 1sd of the mean, and higher than about 20% of the population.

Steve Jacob 10 years, 9 months ago

Confession on tape convicts him. A clock should of went off in his head to get a lawyer.

Ragingbear 10 years, 9 months ago

First of all, law-school is a joke. You either get into some sort of Ivy League place where you learn all the legal tricks and tactics, but are already corrupted by all the elements within such a system, or you go to some third rate place that basically teaches you a few concepts and principles, then dumps you out onto the streets where you either learn how the system actually works, or you flounder into oblivion. Most of the time you will be chasing ambulances.

Secondly, I am quite informed as to the law. There have been a few times where I have gotten into legal disputes, only to hammer them so badly that they never actually get close to going to court. Why? Because I keep informed of my rights, my responsibilities and the law.

Also, for your information, I would NEVER be allowed to be part of the prosecution on this case anyways. As a victim, there is a conflict of interest.

As for Mr.Kidder, if that is who you really are.. Are you aware of the laws you have violated regarding this case? You have testified regarding the case on a public forum, when a gag order is in place. You have also attempted to sway people in a case you have a vested interest in. I am gonna laugh really hard when your served with a warrant for your arrest.

Linda Endicott 10 years, 9 months ago

What gag order? I never read anything about a gag order.

And you can't sway people in a case that has already gone to the jury...

Sigmund 10 years, 9 months ago

"(C)riticism of the legal system is a necessary catalyst for change, regardless of your personal involvement in the system." True enough, but just claiming the system "sucks" and people are "incompetent" is hardly criticism that can be used to make a changes. It is like adolescent angst and hormonal moodiness and is best simply ignored. On the other hand, specifics like the "DA sucks because of X and as a result take Y action" can be challenged and criticized, something the RB has difficulty dealing with or responding to.

midge 10 years, 9 months ago

Ragingbear does not know what he is talking about. A "vested interest" has to do with a civil case, not a criminal one. The only way a criminal case could be filed against the witness is if he lied under oath, which would be purjury. The jurors would be the ones in trouble for getting on line and reading information regarding the case when they have been instructed not to.

denak 10 years, 9 months ago

Criticizing something without action is just complaining. A bunch of hot air. If a person really wanted to change something then that person needs to get of his or her butts and do something constructive to change it.

Secondly, most cases are settled before they go to trial so the fact that Ragingbear settled or had his cases dismissed prior to trial isn't anything significant. It happens all the time. Doesn't mean that there was something amiss with the law or the other party's case. That's why ADR is becoming more and more popular, the court has a vested interests in settling cases prior to trial so as to not get bogged down in trivial cases.

Oh, and I am getting my paralegal certification now, but since law school only teaches a few concepts, why don't you enlighten me as to what those are so I can just learn those and become a lawyer instead???

Bob Kidder 10 years, 9 months ago

Ragingbear writes, "As for Mr.Kidder, if that is who you really are.. Are you aware of the laws you have violated regarding this case? You have testified regarding the case on a public forum, when a gag order is in place. You have also attempted to sway people in a case you have a vested interest in. I am gonna laugh really hard when your served with a warrant for your arrest."

  1. Ragingbear - if that is really who you are not - if you verified your account and did not remain anonymous you would know that LJW does not allow you to claim to be somebody that you are not. That is why it is called verification.
  2. I "testified" in court; I have written commentary here.
  3. I was never issued a "gag" order. Moreover, I have not commented on anything that had not already been entered into evidence in court.
  4. I am not interested in "swaying" people. A person either believes "innocent until proven guilty," or, he does not believe. That is why all of my commentary has been limited to clarification of facts.
  5. Is "gonna" a legal term?

midge 10 years, 9 months ago

A gag order is usually placed on the attorneys and their staff, the parties to the action, ie victim and defendant and all court personnel. It's an order that says these individual's cannot talk specifically about the case to avoid prejudice to any of the parties. The media is not gagged. They can usually print whatever they want.

Linda Endicott 10 years, 9 months ago

I never heard of any such gag order, anyway. I think it's all a figment of Raginbear's imagination.

Even if there were, I don't know that it would apply to witnesses.

Not to mention that the trial is over and has already gone to the jury. Who I'm sure were instructed not to read or listen to any news outlets, yada, yada. Besides, if they were that concerned about it, the court could have easily sequestered the jury.

Linda Endicott 10 years, 9 months ago

I did a search of the LJW site, and this is what I found, in an article dated from 2005:

"A judge has entered a gag order that prevents police and prosecutors from talking publicly about the case against the man charged with setting the deadly fire at Boardwalk Apartments.

District Judge Jack Murphy last week ordered "all those with privileged knowledge" of the case against Jason Allen Rose to not make statements outside court that might harm Rose's right to a fair trial. That includes talking about Rose's criminal record, witnesses' expected testimony, the nature of the evidence and the possibility of a plea.

Even before the order, however, prosecutors and police had declined to talk about any of the evidence against Rose or other details of the case.

The order doesn't prevent discussions of the general nature of the case, the result of hearings or information that's already in the public record."

But this was prior to the first trial, not the second. I don't know that it even applies to the second trial. If it did, I'm sure the judge would have informed everyone during the trial. And I still don't think it applies to the witnesses.

Regardless, Think_b4_u_speak has said nothing here that is not already a matter of public record, either through court transcripts or LJW. If it has already been published in the LJW (and it has), then it is a matter of public record now. Besides, it only applied to police and prosecutors and what they knew.

And the trial is now OVER. So any gag order would no longer apply anyway.

Ragingbear 10 years, 9 months ago

Smitty, I already looked into it. I don't have really anything to sue for. I could sue Jason, but he has no money. Boardwalk doesn't fall into the proper category for me to sue them. I must admit that I am considering suing his foster father now.

monkeywrench1969 10 years, 9 months ago


Why do you think the LJW reporter would post all of Kidders testimony in the article. Logically speaking, if you did something like that it would be dictation and a transcript of the testimony.

Also if the prosecutor only asks a few questions of both Kidder and the cop who interviewed them they are trying to prove their case from selective statements. THe Defense does the same thing.

From the sell papers stand point, if you create controversy by slectively leaving out parts of the testimony and conversation between the detective and Kidder it looks like the cops were being shady and in some ways tick off the victim who may give you further sound bites or quotes when the trial is over about how they lied. This typically creates more text for a story and it is easier than researching and confirming facts through two confirmed sources.

Ragingbear 10 years, 9 months ago

Thank you Informed. I pride myself on living the American Dream. I also look forward to doing horrid things and getting by with it because of some stupid reason or another.

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