The Boardwalk Fire and Trial
Prosecutors said Jason Rose's history with setting fires culminated in his starting the Boardwalk Apartments blaze in 2005. He even admitted to the crime, they said.
Rose's attorney said that the 21-year-old's history with fire is exaggerated and that there's no evidence he started the fire that killed three people. He confessed, he said, so investigators would leave him alone.
A Douglas County jury will now decide which version to believe as it continues deliberations today.
Attorneys on both sides made their closing statements Wednesday afternoon, putting the case in the jury's hands for about an hour before going home for the night.
Amy McGowan, assistant district attorney, said in closing remarks that Rose's confession reflected a pattern of lying, only to come clean later on.
"There's no threats, there's no coercion, there's no promises made to him," McGowan said of the interview.
Ron Evans, Rose's attorney, challenged some of the prosecution witnesses' testimony.
That included Emily Robinson, who testified she heard Rose say he planned to set a colossal fire, although Evans said that some witnesses to the conversation didn't recall Rose making such a statement.
Rose is charged with three counts of first-degree murder, aggravated arson and several battery charges.
In jury instructions, jurors were permitted to return a second-degree murder verdict if they believed Rose didn't plan to kill people when he set the fire but should have known it could result in deaths.
Or they can return an involuntary manslaughter verdict if they believe Rose recklessly set the fire but didn't know people could die from it.
Three people died in the fire: Kansas University student Nicole Bingham, electrician Jose Gonzalez and social worker Yolanda Riddle.