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Judge urges attorneys not to delay trial in Tarpon Springs Publix shooting

LARGO — A judge Monday urged lawyers to complete their last-minute work so a murder trial can proceed as scheduled against Arunya Rouch, the woman accused of killing a co-worker in 2010 outside a Tarpon Springs Publix.

"It's time to try the case," Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Timothy Peters said, noting that the trial also had been rescheduled previously.

Rouch, 43, is scheduled to go on trial June 12 on charges stemming from the slaying of her co-worker, Gregory Janowski, and the attempted murder of others inside the store.

On Monday, Assistant State Attorney Fred Schaub said a psychiatrist hired by prosecutors recently interviewed Rouch at the Pinellas County Jail. Defense attorney George Tragos said he wanted to see the psychiatrist's report and interview her himself before the trial.

The opinions of that mental health expert and others will be a key element of the trial, because defense attorneys have announced they are seeking to have Rouch found not guilty by reason of insanity.

That means defense attorneys will call experts during the trial who will testify about whether Rouch was suffering from a psychotic episode at the time of the shooting — one so severe that she didn't know it was wrong to shoot a gun at people.

But prosecutors also have the right to call their own experts, including the psychiatrist who evaluated Rouch at the jail recently.

Rouch is accused of shooting Janowski, whom she blamed for getting her fired from her job in Publix's seafood department. Authorities say Rouch was fired for threatening Janowski, who had reported her to management for violating a company policy.

Just hours after Publix let her go in March 2010, she returned to the store and shot Janowski in the parking lot, police say. Janowski, a 40-year-old married father of a young daughter, died at the scene.

Rouch also is accused of entering the store and trying to shoot another employee, and then firing at officers called to the scene. A Tarpon Springs police sergeant shot her and disarmed her.

Judge urges attorneys not to delay trial in Tarpon Springs Publix shooting 05/07/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 7:55pm]
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