Central Penn College - Mock Trial - Accused JFK Conspirator Found Innocent!

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December 13, 2018 Mock Trial - Accused JFK Conspirator Found Innocent!

The jury voted to acquit New Orleans businessman Clay Shaw––played by Legal Studies student Stephanie Neely––of all conspiracy charges related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy last week. The original jury came to the same conclusion 49 years ago, too.

The reenactment of the conspiracy trial is an annual event hosted by the Legal Studies department and is part of the program’s two-term Civil Litigation course.

The materials for this mock trial were adapted directly from the court transcripts of the trial of New Orleans businessman Clay Shaw.

Legal teams

The defense was comprised of evening students coached by Instructor Jon Koltash:
• Defense attorneys: Karen Hunter and Allison Harvey
• Clay Shaw: Stephanie Neely
• Marina Oswald Porter: Marianne Hertzog
• Dr. Pierre Fink: Jeremy Horn

The prosecution team (daytime students) was coached by Professor Bob Donley
• Prosecution attorneys: Laura Muckenfuss and Lydia Muckenfuss
• Perry Russo: Steve Anderson
• Dr. John Nichols: Olivia Aungst
• Vernon Bundy: Keith Gregory
• Cross Examiner: Genesis Gonzalez and Amanda Shaw
• Opening statement: Hannah Lake

Professor Randi Teplitz presided over the case as the judge.

“The students on both sides put in an amazing amount of work to prepare the testimony, arguments and strategies, and that preparation showed in their performance,” said Donley. “It was a very effective demonstration of trial techniques, and all of the students involved deserve a lot of credit for their efforts.”

Hands-on learning

“The mock trial offers a unique and meaningful opportunity to learn” says Legal Studies Professor John DeLeo. “Students develop such skills as teamwork, public speaking, trial techniques and the law of evidence. Maybe the most important lesson is the value of preparation. After going through the mock trial, students will have firsthand experience on what it takes to prepare a case for trial.”

“We want our Legal Studies students to be able to hit the ground running once they leave here,” says Donley.

Pictured: Laura Muckenfuss as the attorney and Steven Anderson plays Perry Russo.

The Knightly News contributed to this article.