VERDICT WATCH: Jury gets Publix shooting case | News
Clearwater, Florida - It was a move that took everyone by surprise in the Publix shooting trial.
Defense attorneys for Arunya Rouch declined to give a closing argument Thursday afternoon. Lead counsel for Rouch, George Tragos, said he would not address the jury at the close of the high-profile case.
Photo Gallery: Pictures from the Publix shooting scene
There are theories as to why the shocking and strange move would be played by the defense team. One is that it would thwart any efforts by the state to give the final address to the jury for the day.
Assistant state attorney, Fred Schaub, is known in legal circles as someone who "gives a strong closing," as one attorney described it.
Schaub was already allotted an hour by the judge to present his closing, which is the last statement the jury would hear in the murder case.
Assistant state attorney Tom Koskinas addressed the jury first earlier in the day, portraying a woman who was out to kill a co-worker and knew what she was doing.
"I kill him, I kill him, I kill him," Koskinas bellowed, quoting the words from Arunya Rouch several days before the shooting.
The state used a copy of the Publix employee schedule where managers say Rouch placed large X's over Janowski's name as a prop.
Koskinas continued, "So, folks, there's no question what her intent was on that day. Her intent was to cause his death."
Koskinas talked mainly about the events that fateful day, March 30, 2010, and did not focus a lot on the issue of insanity, which is the main crux of the defense's case.
It was then Tragos decided to take the thunder away from the state's final argument.
Since Koskinas did not discuss the psychiatric aspects of the case, his co-counsel had planned to focus on it, along with a long emotional address to the jurors comprised of nine men and three women.
Instead, the jurors quickly heard instructions after closing arguments from Koskinas.
Prior to closing arguments, the day was spent on rebuttal witnesses presented by the state to rebuke the testimony of the defense's star witness, Dr. Karl Jones.
Three doctors testified on behalf of the state, saying that Rouch was not insane at the time of the shooting.
Michael Gamarche told the jury that while Rouch appeared to be stressed from losing her job, she was not insane. "Yes, this job was important to her. It was the second most important thing in her life next to her marriage."
A previous psychiatrist, Dr. Emily Lazarou, testified on Wednesday, telling jurors, "Mental illness does not mean she's inane," referring to the depression Rouch felt as a result of being fired.
When asked by the defense about the bullying aspect of the case, Garmache replied, "I am aware that there was a standing conflict between Mrs. Rouch and the victim. I am aware that some people characterize this as bullying or harassment. Certainly, I think there was tension between them. I have no doubt about that."
The defense claims that Rouch was bullied for months mercilessly by Janowski, treated like an animal and even locked in a freezer.
In fact, her husband, Tom Rouch, maintains that things were so bad she had applied for a transfer to the Crystal Beach store where he worked in the meat department. "She was so excited," he said. "She thought she was going in that day for good news."
Instead, Rouch was let go by Publix managers. She was said to have sobbed in their office, begging and pleading for her job. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry,' she cried.
Police say Rouch went home after being fired for working off the clock, a termination she claims was caused by Janowski, then returned five hours later to allegedly kill him with a 9-mm pistol.
Her attorney claims she wanted "to commit suicide by cop and was upset that she lived."
In referring to her mental state that day, the state told jurors, "She's reacting out of anger. She's reacting out of ego. She's reacting out of retaliation."
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