‘Court’ in session for WC students during mock trial


College’s mock trial team earns praise

By John Hamilton - jhamilton@wnewsj.com



Kelly Johnson gives her opening statements for the prosecution in the mock trial team’s case on Tuesday at the Boyd Cultural Arts Center at Wilmington College.

Kelly Johnson gives her opening statements for the prosecution in the mock trial team’s case on Tuesday at the Boyd Cultural Arts Center at Wilmington College.


John Hamilton | News Journal

Riley Gatlin gives testimony as Jordan Ryder, the suspect in the mock trial team’s case on Tuesday.


John Hamilton | News Journal

The Wilmington College mock trial team present their State of Midlands vs. Jordan Ryder case on Tuesday at the Boyd Cultural Arts Center.


John Hamilton | News Journal

From left, mock trial coaches Katie Wright and Katie Wilkin observe their team present their case at the Boyd Culture Center on Tuesday at Wilmington College.


John Hamilton | News Journal

From left, mock trial members Leigh Ann Cartier, Kelsey Merriman, Spencer Wilcox, co-coach Katie Wilkin, members Riley Gatlin, Kelly Johnson, Adriana Riccardi, Lucy Enge, Shelbi Mays, Judge Mike Daughtery, and co-coach Katie Wright, post-verdict at their mock trial case at the Boyd Cultural Arts Center on Tuesday. Not pictured is Parker Gunkel.


John Hamilton | News Journal

Parker Gunkel, left, gives his opening statements for the prosecution in front Judge Mike Daugherty during the mock trial team’s case on Tuesday at the Boyd Cultural Arts Center at Wilmington College.


John Hamilton | News Journal

WILMINGTON — Was Jordan Ryder responsible for the death of her daughter?

That was the scenario for the Wilmington College mock trial team’s end-of-semester exercise at the Boyd Cultural Arts Center on Tuesday.

The case, provided by the American Mock Trial Association, was to determine the fate of Ryder, a fictitious mother accused of killing her 12-year-old daughter in a remote campground in the fictional state of Midlands.

Representing the prosecution were Parker Gunkel, Shelbi Mays, Kelsey Merriman and Leigh Ann Cartier. The defense was led by Ariana Riccardi, Kelly Johnson, Spencer Wilcox, Lucy Enge and Riley Gatlin.

Each team was asked to call witnesses (played by their fellow team members), present exhibits, argue evidentiary objections and make opening and closing statements.

At the end of the case, the team received praise and notes from audience members, faculty members, Clinton County Municipal Court Judge Mike Daugherty — who sat in as the judge for their case — and their coach, Katie Wright.

“I thought they were very well-prepared. They clearly knew the case. Trial work is very difficult and there are so many things to think about,” said Wright, an assistant professor of criminal justice at the college.

Wright felt the team’s knowledge of facts, laws, presenting evidence, and arguing objections were good.

“Obviously there will be some skills that need to be honed over time, but I thought this was a great start for the team,” said Wright. “This trial was to help prepare them to compete next semester.”

At the end, Judge Daugherty ruled in favor of the defense.

Wright said she’s excited to see the college taking part in mock trials again, especially since the students both enjoy them and are learning from them.

Wright, who is co-coaching this year’s team along with Katie Wilkin, Clinton County assistant prosecutor, encourages students to attend if they are interested in law or criminal justice (or from any major) in joining the team.

“No matter what their future holds, I want them to be leaving the school with the skills they’ve developed through a mock trial,” she said. “Those skills are basic advocacy skills, being able to think on their feet, being able to have grace under pressure, to go up against an adversary and be professional but assertive, and to trust themselves.”

The team’s next competition is at the Dayton School of Law in February.

Kelly Johnson gives her opening statements for the prosecution in the mock trial team’s case on Tuesday at the Boyd Cultural Arts Center at Wilmington College.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2019/12/web1_DSC_0047.jpgKelly Johnson gives her opening statements for the prosecution in the mock trial team’s case on Tuesday at the Boyd Cultural Arts Center at Wilmington College. John Hamilton | News Journal

Riley Gatlin gives testimony as Jordan Ryder, the suspect in the mock trial team’s case on Tuesday.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2019/12/web1_DSC_0066.jpgRiley Gatlin gives testimony as Jordan Ryder, the suspect in the mock trial team’s case on Tuesday. John Hamilton | News Journal

The Wilmington College mock trial team present their State of Midlands vs. Jordan Ryder case on Tuesday at the Boyd Cultural Arts Center.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2019/12/web1_DSC_0074.jpgThe Wilmington College mock trial team present their State of Midlands vs. Jordan Ryder case on Tuesday at the Boyd Cultural Arts Center. John Hamilton | News Journal

From left, mock trial coaches Katie Wright and Katie Wilkin observe their team present their case at the Boyd Culture Center on Tuesday at Wilmington College.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2019/12/web1_DSC_0079.jpgFrom left, mock trial coaches Katie Wright and Katie Wilkin observe their team present their case at the Boyd Culture Center on Tuesday at Wilmington College. John Hamilton | News Journal

From left, mock trial members Leigh Ann Cartier, Kelsey Merriman, Spencer Wilcox, co-coach Katie Wilkin, members Riley Gatlin, Kelly Johnson, Adriana Riccardi, Lucy Enge, Shelbi Mays, Judge Mike Daughtery, and co-coach Katie Wright, post-verdict at their mock trial case at the Boyd Cultural Arts Center on Tuesday. Not pictured is Parker Gunkel.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2019/12/web1_DSC_0091.jpgFrom left, mock trial members Leigh Ann Cartier, Kelsey Merriman, Spencer Wilcox, co-coach Katie Wilkin, members Riley Gatlin, Kelly Johnson, Adriana Riccardi, Lucy Enge, Shelbi Mays, Judge Mike Daughtery, and co-coach Katie Wright, post-verdict at their mock trial case at the Boyd Cultural Arts Center on Tuesday. Not pictured is Parker Gunkel. John Hamilton | News Journal

Parker Gunkel, left, gives his opening statements for the prosecution in front Judge Mike Daugherty during the mock trial team’s case on Tuesday at the Boyd Cultural Arts Center at Wilmington College.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2019/12/web1_DSC_0039.jpgParker Gunkel, left, gives his opening statements for the prosecution in front Judge Mike Daugherty during the mock trial team’s case on Tuesday at the Boyd Cultural Arts Center at Wilmington College. John Hamilton | News Journal
College’s mock trial team earns praise

By John Hamilton

jhamilton@wnewsj.com

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574