RUTLAND, Vt. (AP) – The second day of testimony in the trial of a man accused of killing a University of Vermont student was postponed Friday because he was ill.

Brian Rooney, 37, of Richmond, who’s charged with raping and killing Michelle Gardner-Quinn, 21, of Arlington, Va., was taken to Rutland Regional Medical Center after vomiting Friday morning.

After returning to court, a pale Rooney said he felt better. But when Judge Michael Kupersmith asked him if he would be able to focus on the trial, he said he was worried about getting sick in court.

“If I’m feeling like I’m going to be sick, then I’ll be focused on that,” he said.

“I don’t feel secure right now,” said Rooney, who then apologized to the court.

Kupersmith said he suspected Rooney was suffering from a stomach bug, telling him there was no need to apologize. He postponed the resumption of testimony until Monday – if Rooney’s condition improves.

“You should be feeling well, mentally and physically, in a trial as important as this one,” he told Rooney.

The attorneys and judge plan to speak by conference call Sunday to get an update on his condition and decide if the trial proceeds then.

On Thursday, the trial opened with testimony from Gardner-Quinn’s parents and friends who were had been with her on the night she disappeared.

Prosecutors say Rooney raped and killed Gardner-Quinn after a chance Oct. 7, 2006, encounter in downtown Burlington that started when she borrowed his cell phone. Charged with aggravated murder, he would get life in prison if convicted.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Assuming testimony resumes Monday, prosecutors expect to wrap up their case Wednesday, Assistant Attorney General Matthew Levine told Kupersmith.


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