(Mock) trial and error

The witnesses, including Alyssa Fox, Jackson Staerk and two belonging to McCluer North, swear in under oath to the judge to assure that they give honest testimonies.

The KHS Mock Trial teams gathered at the St. Louis County Courthouse Jan. 17 to begin their first round of trials in the 2017 school year. One team, including Alyssa Fox, senior, and Gianni Fioretti, Tim Knight, Jackson Staerk, Jim Deyoung and David Decker, juniors, and Naomi Thomson, freshman, competed to take down the opposing team. The seven-member team, called the “defense,”  were up against McCluer North High School, the “prosecution.”

The trial consisted of about a two-hour debating period between the teams, with a judge present to enforce the rules of court and two jurors to give the verdict of the case. The jurors base their decision on the winner by which team gives the strongest argument with the best evidence. Kirkwood started with Decker, a defense lawyer, who gave their opening statement to the jury and audience in the courtroom.

Decker, along with Knight, DeYong and Thomson, defended Fioretti for the false accusation in a racquetball murder case. Fioretti played Payton Reed, a fellow racquetball player of the victim, Ryan Maher. The prosecution convicted him under the idea that he had killed Maher with his gun to take his number one spot in the national league.

Gianni Fioretti gives his testimony at the witness stand.

“This is probably the best character I’ve been yet,” Fioretti said. “[in the end], the verdict was reached after the two jurors scored all [competitors], and the judge returned his choice for which team [had stronger evidence]. We ended up having all of the judges returning verdicts in my team’s favor and we won.”

Thomson portrayed another defense attorney for Fioretti. As the only freshman on her team, had to learn more information at a faster rate than her teammates, she said.

“It was scary,” Thomson said. “I definitely didn’t know as much as everyone else so I had to learn pretty fast. [Since] I was on a team with more experienced people, I felt like I learned everything [quickly] and everything went smoothly in the trial.”

This winning team will compete again against another school Tuesday, Feb. 14 in their second round of competition. If they win, they move onto regionals. After regionals, they hope to make it to state and then nationals, according to Knight.

Tim Knight delivers his closing statement to the jurors.

 Knight, as one of Fioretti’s defense attorneys, finished off the case with his closing statement to the jurors. Knight said his main goal of this statement was to finish off Kirkwood’s strong lead in the case and give the jurors the best closing with substantial evidence that he could offer.

“My favorite part was for sure the closing because it was fun to give and I felt really good about it,” Knight said. “I also achieved the highest score compared to everyone [including both teams] which [was amazing] just because of how competitive things can be.”


Overall, out of the totaled 280 points, Kirkwood won with a score of 220 over McCluer’s 200. Kirkwood’s individual scores include:

David Decker: 27/40

Jim DeYong: 26/40

Gianni Fioretti: 34/40

Alyssa Fox: 34/40

Tim Knight: 37/40

Jackson Staerk: 33/40

Naomi Thomson: 29/40

Total: 220/280

 To see more photos, check out “Photo gallery: mock trial“.