Accused Publix shooter, Arunya Rouch, insane or just plain mean?

6:44 PM, Jun 20, 2012   |    comments
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Arunya Rouch's mug shot after the shooting at the Tarpon Springs Publix



Clearwater, Florida - Was accused Publix shooter, Arunya Rouch, insane when she allegedly gunned down her co-worker at the Tarpon Springs store in 2010? 

Or, was the 44-year-old simply on a mission for murder, angry that she was fired by someone she says was responsible for her termination, a man whom she claimed bullied her for months?

Therein lies the task for the jury in this high-profile Pinellas County case that stems from the deadly shooting that took place on March 30, 2010.  

Jury instructions began late Wednesday, and closing arguments are expected on Thursday.

Rouch is charged with first degree murder in the death of her colleague, Greg Janowski, and could spend the rest of her life in prison if convicted, an outcome that her husband told 10 News, "she's ready to accept."

Rouch's husband said, "She is ready to shine for Jesus," if she spends life in prison. He called her, "his rock" throughout this process, and said, "She is stronger than all of us."

Her defense attorneys claim Rouch was suffering from a mental illness when the tragedy took place.  They say she snapped and didn't know right from wrong.

And, then there are the voices.  

Several psychiatrists testified Wednesday that Rouch told them she heard voices that sounded like a "walkie-talkie," telling her to get a gun.  

However, they also pointed out that a "mental illness does not make her insane."

Rouch's husband said this case is simple - he claimed his wife was bullied for months in her workplace, and no one at her company stopped it.  "They didn't protect her," he said.  "I blame them."

Rouch was a sushi preparer while Janowski worked nearby in the adjacent department as a meat cutter. The two were known to argue.  

In fact, just three days before the shooting, Rouch and Janowski fought in front of another employee. 

A Publix manager, Ronald Freebold, said, "I saw her say, 'I'll kill you.'  Greg Janowski asked, 'Are you threatening me?'  Then, she said, 'Where I'm from this is what we do to people like you,' and she pulled her finger across her throat."

Tom Rouch told 10 News that his wife was extremely saddened by the treatment and applied for a transfer to the newly-constructed Crystal Beach store where he worked.  

She thought she was receiving that transfer on March 30, 2010.  Instead, he said, "she went in on a high and came out at the lowest she'd ever been," referring to the firing.

Psychiatrist Emily Lazarou was called as a rebuttal witness. She had positive things to say about the defendant, that Rouch is a "good person" and "treats people with respect." 

However, Lazarou also said that Rouch knew what she was doing that fateful day and "was sane" when she allegedly shot Janowski.

"Just because she has mental issues does not mean she's insane," Lazarou testified. "[That day] she was well enough to go to work. She had a conversation with her boss.  Then, [she went home] and had time to think about things."

Lazarou went on to say, "She had thoughts about wanting to hurt him."

Lazarou said she spent time interviewing and examining Rouch at length. "She did not meet the criteria for insanity. This was not random. She waited for this person and knew his schedule. She knew what she was doing," Lazarou told the jury.

Lazarou also talked about the feelings of anguish and depression that Rouch experienced after the event. She told jurors, "[Arunya Rouch] said she was a loser and no good."  Lazarou said that Rouch felt continually picked on and bullied, until the point where she snapped.  "She had depression. Earlier in her life, she tried to kill herself when she was a child."

However Lazarou noted, "[Rouch] did not suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.  She was not insane." 

Photo Gallery: Pictures from the Publix shooting scene

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