A lot of people shop at Publix, and a lot of people remember the day a Publix in Tarpon Springs was the scene of a work place shooting. That made picking a jury in the case a somewhat difficult process.
Tuesday, lawyers tried to pick jurors, but most in the prospective jury pool remembered the incident, even though it was more than two years ago.
Arunya Rouch is on trial for first degree murder. She is accused of killing an ex-co-worker. She is also accused of trying to kill someone inside the Publix, and two Tarpon Springs police officers who responded to the scene.
Police say Rouch and co-worker Greg Janowski argued for days before the shooting. Court documents show Rouch threatened to kill Janowski. Rouch was fired because of the threat.
The shooting happened five hours later. Police say Janowski was shot in his car in the parking lot. Prosecutors say Rouch spent five hours after her termination plotting her revenge.
She is accused of using a green Publix shopping bag to conceal a hand gun used in the shooting. Rouch's attorney insists his client was suffering a psychotic episode during the shooting.
Rouch appeared to have difficulty understanding what was happening in court. Before jury selection began, Judge Timothy Peters ask her a routine question.
"Nobody has offered any plea deal, right?" Rouch looked at her attorney but did not respond.
"Do you understand?"
Finally Rouch answered, "I'm not understand a plea."
Rouch's attorney, George Tragos, also suggested his client may not understand the English language well enough to know what's happening in court. It's an argument Judge Peters rejected.
"There is not a need to interpret what the English language is. She readily understands it," the judge said.
If Rouch is convicted, she faces life in prison.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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