ST. PETERSBURG — Despite a day and a half of questioning, a jury has still not been selected in the Arunya Rouch murder trial. The attorneys had been expected to give their opening statements today, but that's now unlikely to happen until Thursday.
On the morning of March 30, 2010, Rouch was fired from her job at Publix for threatening to kill coworker Gregory Janowski. Hours later, authorities say, Rouch returned to the Tarpon Springs store and shot Janowski four times in the parking lot. He died at the scene.
Rouch then slipped the gun into a green shopping bag and entered the supermarket, searching for other targets, investigators allege. After police arrived on scene, she fired several rounds at the officers before a Tarpon Springs police sergeant shot her four times and disarmed her.
She has been charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder of law enforcement officers. Her lawyer, George Tragos, has said his client is innocent because she was insane at the time of the incident.
Tragos has on several occasions over the last two days requested continuances or venue changes.
Assistant state attorney Fred Schaub just this week supplied Tragos with a package of incident reports from the Pinellas County Jail that prosecutors intended to present at trial. Rouch, the documents allege, had been in at least one fight with another inmate and was often erratic and uncooperative with deputies.
Tragos insisted the trial be postponed so he could depose the new potential witnesses. Instead, after a half-hour discussion, Judge R. Timothy Peters ordered prosecutors not to bring up the jail incidents before the jury.
Earlier in Wednesday's proceedings, Tragos complained that his client had been deprived of her civil rights at the jail. When she had returned from court to her cell on Tuesday, her sheets, underwear and feminine products had been removed. She barely slept and woke up with a headache.
Tragos called it "torture."
Schaub noted that Rouch may be on suicide watch because she had previously threatened to kill herself.
Peters seemed exasperated that he had to address the issue at all. He gave deputies permission to give Rouch an aspirin.