On Monday, April 9, 2012, the Historical and Theatrical Trial Society (HATTS) at the University of Missouri School of Law will present a historical mock trial of the State of Missouri v. Bonnie Elizabeth Parker.
On April 1, 1934, the notorious outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow allegedly gunned down a young highway patrolman. An eyewitness of the events said that it was Bonnie Parker who pulled the trigger. The shocking event became known as the “Grapevine Murder” and was particularly noteworthy because it was the first time Bonnie was thought to have actively participated in nefarious misdeeds of the Barrow gang. Now, MU law students and faculty will try Bonnie Parker for her role in the Grapevine Murder.
HATTS is a group of students and faculty dedicated to exploring the intersection of law, history, and theatre. Each year the society selects an event from history that represents a potential cause of action but was never tried in its own time. The members of the group then research the event and stage a mock trial in which they apply modern law to the historical facts. As part of the trial, various MU law students and faculty members portray characters involved with the crime and the lawyers who will try the case. The case will be tried by two teams comprised of one MU law student and one experienced attorney: the defendant will be represented by MU Law professor Ben Trachtenberg and the State will be represented by Scott Fox, assistant prosecuting attorney for Cooper County and MU Law alumnus.
Dane Rennier, the director for this year’s production, noted that trial participants will be dressed in costumes from the time period and will act as their character would have in real life.
“HATTS has become an annual tradition of the MU School of Law and we are excited to share what we have learned in our legal coursework with the Columbia community. We are looking forward to another entertaining show,” Rennier said.
The event is free and open to the public and will be held at the Missouri Theatre, 203 9th Street, Columbia. Doors will open at 7 pm. The trial will be conducted with both humorous and serious aspects and will be a family friendly show.
This year’s trial will be the 6th annual HATTS production. Previous trials included the prosecutions of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, Governor Thomas Crittenden, Al Capone, John Brown and Dr. Victor Frankenstein.