FARMINGTON — Fourth-graders acting as jurors in a mock trial in Franklin County Superior Court could not reach a unanimous decision Tuesday on whether a fellow student was guilty of stealing a 2014 Corvette from a local dealership.

Judge Charles LaVerdiere told the 14 students from Academy Hill School in Wilton that when a jury does not reach a unanimous verdict in a criminal case, it is considered a hung jury. If it were a real trial, he would tell prosecutors they would have to decide whether to try the case again, he said.

The students are learning about the three branches of government from LaVerdiere’s wife, Brenda LaVerdiere, and Morgan Badeau.

Prior to the trial of State of Maine vs. Sara Parks, the judge explained such things as the courtroom and the roles of judges and courtroom staff.

Students read from scripts as they portrayed a state prosecutor, defense attorney, defendant, police officer, fingerprinting expert, court security officers, court clerks, court reporter and media representatives.

Judge LaVerdiere said that normally there are 12 people on a jury and there are usually two alternates. After taking their seats in the jury box, they were sworn in.


Meredith Gagnon acted as district attorney and Lacie Gurney as defense attorney, giving opening statements to the jury while Sara Richard, portraying defendant Sara Parks, sat at the defense table.

Gagnon called her first witness, Braxton Malcore, portraying a state trooper, who testified he stopped the Corvette after noticing it matched a vehicle on the stolen car list. He asked the driver to step out of the car and arrested her, Malcore said.

Gagnon held up a pair of keys and asked Malcore if he had seen them before. They were in the ignition of the Corvette. They are master keys that had been filed down so they could fit in any Corvette, he said.

Brayden Conner, portraying an expert fingerprint examiner, testified he found several clear fingerprint impressions on the keys. Two of them belonged to the defendant.

Gurney called Richard to the witness stand. She testified she had seen a Corvette in a parking lot and asked the driver how fast the car went. She got in the car with a man named Rick and they drove to Waterville from Farmington. Rick had told her he stole the car, she said. Once they were in Waterville, Rick got out and gave the car to her, she said. She drove it back to Farmington to take it back to the dealership from which it was stolen but got stopped, she testified.

Gurney asked her if she had touched the keys.


Yes, she said, when she turned off the car.

She took the ride because she had “never been in a Corvette,” she said. She didn’t call police because she did not have a cellphone. She testified that she knew the Corvette was stolen.

LaVerdiere gave the jury instructions and read them the law to guide them in their deliberations to determine beyond a reasonable doubt whether the defendant was guilty.

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