Rosario trial scheduled for late March
Although the results of a study on whether the trial of a Topeka resident charged with the December 2013 rape and attempted murder of a Holton woman should be held in a different location are not yet complete, Jackson County District Court Judge Micheal Ireland on Friday tentatively scheduled the trial for late March of next year.
Filip Chase Rosario’s trial had been set for mid-September in district court, but Ireland agreed to continue action on a change-of-venue motion by Rosario’s attorney, Ron Evans of Topeka. On Friday, Evans said the study was not yet complete, and a hearing set for that day on the motion was continued indefinitely pending results of the study, which he said would take “another month” to finish.
But while Ireland granted Evans more time to get the study completed, he also stressed the need to set a date for Rosario’s trial. The trial has now been scheduled for Monday, March 30, 2015, through Friday, April 3, 2015, in district court.
Ireland and Evans also agreed to “work our way backwards” on any other motions tied to the trial, setting a pretrial motion hearing for 1 p.m. Friday, March 27, 2015.
Meanwhile, with action on the change-of-venue motion being held off until the study was complete, Ireland, Evans and Jackson County Attorney Shawna Miller agreed to discuss the results before rescheduling the hearing on that motion.
Rosario has been charged with attempted capital murder, two counts of aggravated criminal sodomy, two counts of rape, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated battery and criminal threat, all felonies, in the December 2013 incident, which reportedly occurred in Holton. He is currently in custody at the Shawnee County Jail on $300,000 bond.
Evans had filed the change of venue motion in late August and requested a study led by Pittsburg State University communications professor Troy Comeau, whom Evans said had performed similar studies for him and his clients in the past. The study reportedly involved a random telephone survey of 10 percent of Jackson County residents, he said.
On Friday, Evans said Comeau and others involved in the study were “40 responses short” of the amount needed to consider the study “statistically accurate” and that it needed “another month to finish.”
Ireland — who in August said that continuing to delay Rosario’s trial was “an exercise in futility,” even though Rosario had already waived his right to a speedy trial — apologized to Rosario for the trial date delay, stating that he had jury trials scheduled “all the way through February.” However, he assured Rosario that Evans was “doing everything he can to ensure a fair and impartial” jury trial would take place.