Closing arguments under way in Publix shooting trial of Arunya Rouch

1:51 PM, Jun 21, 2012   |    comments
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Arunya Rouch sits in court during jury selection of her murder trial.


Clearwater, Florida - After nearly two weeks, closing arguments are under way in the Publix shooting trial where an employee who was fired is accused of gunning down her co-worker, a man whom she claims was responsible for her termination.

Arunya Rouch was a sushi preparer at the Tarpon Springs Publix in 2010 and worked alongside Greg Janowski, a meat cutter.   Rouch claims Janowski bullied her mercilessly for months, called her names and even locked her in a seafood freezer.

Photo Gallery: Pictures from the Publix shooting scene

One of the sources of their fights was the fact that Janowski warned Rouch about "working off the clock."  Rouch was known to come in early before her shift and prepare her work area, which is against Publix policy. 

On March 30, 2010, Rouch was fired around 6:30 a.m., then came back five hours later, police say, to kill Janowski. 

The father of four was sitting in the parking lot drinking his morning coffee and smoking a cigarette.  He was shot point blank in the head as he sat in the driver's seat.

The state claims Rouch blamed Janowski for her firing and wanted him dead.  After allegedly shooting her co-worker, Rouch then went inside, police maintain, to kill her managers.

In a brief shoot-out, Tarpon Springs police shot Rouch four times to stop her from hurting anyone else.  Police say she fired at several officers, hitting one of them in his gun belt, which ended up saving his life.

Rouch spent weeks in intensive care to recover from her injuries. Her attorney maintains that she "wanted to die.  She wanted to commit suicide by cop," said her defense attorney George Tragos.

Assistant state attorney Fred Schaub argued throughout the case that Rouch is a cold-blooded killer on a mission for murder, someone with no regard for human life.  However, the defense claims she was insane at the time of the shooting and didn't know right from wrong.

A psychologist testified Thursday morning as a rebuttal witness that the 44-year-old native of Thailand had thoughts of suicide on that fateful day.

However, the psychologist told the jury, that doesn't mean Rouch is insane.  In fact, it didn't meet the requirements for being clinically insane, he said.

Michael Gamache testified, "In my opinion, she was not insane at the time of the offense."

Gamache told jurors that he examined Rouch and that she had no history of mental illness. "In her history, she had no contact as an adult with mental health professionals," Gamache said.

Several rebuttal witnesses did admit that Rouch told them that she "heard voices" telling her to get a gun.

Gamache talked about her stressful the firing would have been for Rouch, who placed a high importance on her career at Publix. "It was very important to her," he said.

Gamache added, "It's stressful, it's emotional, it's unpleasant but it's not the kind of stress we consider in diagnosing post-traumatic stress."

Now, the jury must decide if Rouch was insane or a cold-blooded killer.

If convicted, Rouch faces life in prison.  She's charged with murder, attempted murder and aggravated assault.

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