Yogurt Shop Murder Trial Headlines Shout 'Guilty!'
-- But Did the Prosecution Make Its Case?
BY JORDAN SMITH
June 15, 2001
the trial began, prosecutors sought to call Roy Rose -- Springsteen's friend
from West Virginia -- to testify that Springsteen had bragged to Rose about
committing the 1991 murders. APD detectives interrogated Rose on Sept.
16, 1999. After nearly three hours, Rose signed a statement saying Springsteen
had told him details of his involvement in the crime.
Just six hours later, Rose recanted. He did so officially, in a letter presented to the Travis County grand jury in 1999, in which he said the APD detectives had coerced him into making the statement against Springsteen. Rose suffers from diabetes, cancer, and fibromyalgia, and said he was heavily medicated on a narcotic painkiller at the time the detectives interviewed him. Under Texas law, a witness can face felony perjury charges if he testifies in front of a jury and that testimony is found to contradict any other statement he has made in the past. Since Rose planned to testify that Springsteen had never said anything about the murders and that the police had coerced him into making the first statement, he would necessarily be contradicting himself.
As a result, Rose initially claimed his Fifth Amendment right and refused to testify, and was jailed for contempt of court. Prosecutor Darla Davis presented Rose with an immunity deal, but it did not cover the portion of Texas perjury law that deals with inconsistent statements. Rose's Austin attorney, Carolyn Denero, filed a federal writ of habeas corpus, which was denied -- but which gave Rose de facto immunity because the federal court said it believed the immunity deal would cover Rose's inconsistent statement concern.
Rose was then ready and willing to testify, but once he had immunity, the D.A.'s office didn't call him, and left him in jail until the end of the trial. (He has since returned to West Virginia.)
"It is puzzling," said Denero.
"It makes you wonder." Prosecutors may have been hoping to intimidate Rose
once again into implicating Springsteen, but the whole episode calls into
further question the APD's methods of interrogation in the case.