SAY CHEESE. The Mock Trial Team poses for a picture before they begin the State Championships on March 7. photo courtesy/MATTHEW CASLER
SAY CHEESE. The Mock Trial Team poses for a picture before they begin State Competitions on March 7. photo courtesy/MATTHEW CASLER


Becca Ables was left bloody, abandoned and betrayed in the Mock Trial court case Regan Buschell v. The State of Florida. On March 9, the Mock Trial team argued the case on day three of the state competition, which took place at the Orange County Court House.

Students in Mock Trial simulated the court case, on the side of prosecution and defense; each student had a different role. On the prosecution-side of the case, senior Monica Joyce was the witness, junior Elizabeth Barahona was a lawyer, junior Brendan Francis was an attorney, junior Lorenzo Stefko was Dr. Schwartz, junior Kaley Gilbert was Detective Kennedy Shepard, and Emily Blaydes was a lawyer.

“Playing the detective was a really fun experience. It is like doing improv acting; you have to think on your feet. While I was on the stand, I just kept running through the facts in my head,” Gilbert said.

As for the defensive-side of the case, junior Faith Whigam was Regan Buschell, junior Kevin Snavely was A.G. Prout, Joyce was Dr.Sharpe, and Francis, Barahona, and Blaydes were attorneys.

Here is the case overview:

Becca Ables was found next to her blue, two-door Honda with stab wounds in her chest. The only witness was her good friend Devin Lin. When Lin found Ables she called 911 and then detective Kennedy Shepard appeared at the scene.

A month before the attack, Ables childhood-best-friend Regan Buschell encouraged her to plagiarize the paper she had written for the same class the year before. Ables, being an honest and diligent student, declined the offer. Ables drafted a letter to the administration explaining what Buschell had told her to do; if she had sent it Buschell would be expelled.

Buschell found out about the draft; if expelled, he wouldn’t be able to access the $20 million trust fund. To obtain the cash, Buschell had to graduate in four years with a 3.0 average.

Coincidentally, Buschell’s car was broken into the same night of the stabbing. His knife was stolen and he failed to file a police report. Buschell did not stay at the apartment he shared with A.G. Prout the night of the stabbing, either.

Doctors Schwartz and Sharpe were called in to testify for the case. Schwartz was an expert in wound and fiber analysis, he pleaded for the prosection. Sharpe was the chief of emergency care at the hospital where Ables still lay coma, and he pleaded for the defense. Buschell was charged for one count of aggravated assault and one for aggravated battery.

The Mock Trial team consists of 11 students. Freshmen Anastasia Barsamian, David Motta and Matthew Casler; sophomores Erika Gutierrez and Diana Kehoe; juniors Brendan Francis, Elizabeth Barahona, Faith Whigam, Kaley Gilbert, Kevin Snavely,  and Lorenzo Stefko; and seniors Monica Joyce and Emily Blaydes. Students who did not participate in the trial were alternates. Law magnet teacher Laura Crolla is the club sponsor.

“I love participating in Mock Trial because everyone is so passionate and supportive of one another. It makes participation truly worthwhile,” Casler said.

After working for four months, with two hour practices daily, the Mock Trial team came in fourth place, and Francis earned the Top Attorney award.

“I felt honored to be chosen for the award, but more importantly, I felt overwhelming gratitude towards my teammates and coaches for all the time and effort they had invested in me. The credit really goes to them,” Francis said.

This concludes the school’s Mock Trial season. Indiana Mock Trial will be hosting nationals, where the top three teams advance to nationals May 9-11.


By Elizabeth Gordon

I am the Editor-in-Chief of hilights and will be attending University of Central Florida in the fall.

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