Thomas Rouch: Publix played 'Russian Roulette' with Greg Janowski's life

PINELLAS CO, Fla - A somewhat emotional Thomas Rouch took the stand Wednesday morning in defense of his wife Arunya, ultimately blaming the death of Greg Janowski on Publix.

Arunya is accused of killing her co-worker Greg Janowski and then hunting for more victims inside the Tarpon Springs Publix where she was fired hours earlier on March 30, 2010.  Prosecutors maintain it was premeditated murder but her defense attorneys are arguing she snapped.

"Publix played Russian roulette with Greg's life and this was the result," said Rouch.

Rouch claims Publix managers knew there was a problem between Janowski and his wife -- specifically that Janowski was harassing and bullying her on a regular basis.

"She didn't understand why he kept picking at her," explained Rouch.  "He would make nasty remarks to her."

Rouch said he urged his wife to tell her bosses what she was going through at work but that Janowski scoffed at a meeting.

Rouch told jurors he even confronted Greg.

"I asked him, 'Greg, why won't you leave my wife alone?'  He just looked at me, laughed and walked away," Rouch said.

Rouch, who also works at a Publix, added that in the days leading up to this shooting, he suggested his wife transfer stores and work with him.  He went on to tell jurors she was excited at the thought and even baked a cake.

Bolstering the defense's case, Rouch testified his wife told him in the weeks before the shooting his wife told him she felt 'mentally sick.'

"Looking back, I should have taken it more seriously," he said.

During Rouch's time on the stand, his wife broke down and cried.  Sitting directly behind Arunya is court was her mother, who showed no facial expression.

On Tuesday, the prosecution wrapped up its case and showed surveillance video of Arunya walking into Publix while concealing a gun.  Once again, they walked the court through the crime scene.

Prosecutors called more than a dozen witnesses.

On cross examination, Fred Schaub tried to paint Rouch as less sympathetic and said he is seeing dollars signs in Janowski's death.

"The bottom line is, your wife shot at two officers and killed a co-worker and you want to make money off it?" Schaub asked Rouch.

Rouch openly told the court he had met with attorneys to discuss a civil suit.

STATE'S FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST TESTIFIES

Emily Lozaro, who examined and interviewed Arunya following the shooting, told jurors Arunya knew exactly what she was doing when she pulled the trigger.

"She had planned it out to be sitting there [in the parking lot] and waiting," explained Lozaro.

Lozaro gave a laundry list of reasons why she believed Arunya did not meet the criteria for an insanity plea including:

  • Arunya was well enough to go to work the day of the shooting
  • She was able to hold a conversation with her boss and become upset when fired, which is a natural, expected reaction
  • Earlier reports showed she struggled between not doing anything and coming back to harm people
  • She made a decision to change clothes to darker, more conservative ones
  • She cut a slit in a Publix bag to conceal her weapon
  • She gave her co-worker Virginia the option to let her go or get hurt

"She knew who she wanted to hurt," Lozaro contended.

Lozaro did concede Rouch suffered from some mental issues and went on to say Rouch was a good person.

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