UW College of Law puts John Wilkes Booth on trial

The University of Wyoming College of Law will hold the second annual Spence Law Firm Historical Trial Production on Monday, April 11th, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. in the College of Law Large Moot Court Room.

The College of Law, with collaboration from the Spence Law Firm, created the annual Historical Trial as a fun and interesting way to learn about important historical events through a legal lens, while also providing law students a way to simulate a trial of a high profile case.

This year’s historical trial will put John Wilkes Booth on trial for the murder of President Abraham Lincoln.

Following the assassination of Lincoln, Booth famously fled the Ford Theatre on horseback, was tracked down days later, and killed in a shootout. Though a trial never took place, the Spence Historical Trial team gathered all of the facts surrounding the case and will present the evidence in a trial that could have occurred.

The research team included Professor Steve Easton, and second year law student Evynne Fair (Arvada, Colo.). The team worked closely with members of the UW Departments of History and Psychology, while leaning heavily on several publications about the incident to gather historically accurate facts. The team loaned period appropriate costumes from the Theatre Department, to transform the courtroom back to 1865.

Presiding over United States v. John Wilkes Booth will be Wyoming Supreme Court Justice, Keith Kautz (B.S. ’75, J.D. ’78). Representing the United States for the prosecution will be Professor Steve Easton and third year law student Emily Williams (Flagstaff, Ariz.). Representing Mr. Booth will be Spence trial attorney Kent Spence, and third year law student Macrina Sharpe (Cheyenne, Wyo.). Mr. Booth will be played by J.D. /MBA student Nathan Ridgway (North Liberty, Ind.). The rest of the cast will be rounded out by current law students and faculty and staff from around the campus.

Mr. Booth and his attorneys are expected to present an insanity defense.

The mock trial is free and open to the public. An overflow room with a live stream of the trial will be provided in the event of high occupancy. Refreshments will be provided at the break.Spence trial 2016