Bowie debate team remakes history, puts Kennedy assassin on trial -- Gazette.Net


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Lee Harvey Oswald, the man accused of assassinating former United States President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963, will finally get his day in trial — 50 years later.

Woodstream Christian Academy, a private high school in Bowie, will be holding a mock trial 2 p.m. Saturday at the Bowie branch library, 15210 Annapolis Road, in recognition of the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination.

“We re-enact a trial every year at the Bowie library,” said Doug Kump, Woodstream’s debate team director, who started the team as an extracurricular activity in 2005. “I think most of our students knew about the assassination, but they didn’t know any of the details...and now they’re experts on it, so it’s a really great way for them to learn history.”

The 18-student team has been preparing for the trial since August, Kump said, and working with award-winning Kennedy assassination researcher Gus Russo of Baltimore, a friend of the library’s adult services director, Douglas Adolphsen.

The team’s past mock trials have drawn crowds of up to 150 people, Adolphsen said, and there’s a good chance the jury will acquit Oswald.

Audience members each receive a numbered ticket upon entrance. Adolphsen then randomly selects 12 ticket holders to serve as jury members.

Junior Simone Bailey of Upper Marlboro is one of two students acting on Oswald’s defense team, arguing he was insane.

“I think that if we present our evidence with emotion and we’re concentrating on what we’re saying, I think we can convince the jury we’re right,” Bailey, 16, said, adding this is her first year on the team. “I was surprised by how much I didn’t know about the assassination.”

Junior Monica Echlos of Upper Marlboro, one of two students on the prosecution team, said she’ll be arguing Oswald was sane and premeditated Kennedy’s murder.

“I figured this was a good way to learn more aspects about how to argue my point logically and get public speaking experience,” Echlos, 15, said, adding she’s been on the team for two years. “I’m hoping it will go well.”

spetit@gazette.net