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Dial ‘Mean’ for murder

By Staff | Mar 20, 2011

Mike Mean (aka Travis Hagedorn) is on trial for murder in a fake case set up for BEA High School teacher Gary Holmseth’s personal business law class.

Candy Cane was dead, and now her boyfriend, Mike Mean, was on trial for murder.

The prosecution and defense attorneys took turns tossing questions out at different witnesses on the stand — a local bartender, Mean’s dad and the defendant Mike Mean himself.

What time had Mean been out at the bar that night? Why was he with exotic dancer Betty White? And why, on a Saturday night, would he take her back to his parents’ house?

Each side presented its case to the jury, and then it was out of their hands.

The jury was out for less than five minutes, which could only mean one of two things — Mean was undoubtedly innocent, or undoubtedly guilty.

Prosecutor Carly Hyland presents her case to the jury.

The silence in the courtroom was deafening, but then the judge delivered the young man’s fate.

In the case of the State of Minnesota v. Mike Mean, Mean was found guilty of first degree murder, a crime that carries with it an automatic sentence of life in prison.

But despite his heinous offense, Mean didn’t shed a tear upon hearing the verdict. He wasn’t escorted by a county jailer to his fateful prison cell, and he didn’t even leave the courtroom in handcuffs.

Instead, Mean joked around with his friends as they walked out to find their seats on the big yellow bus that would drive them back to Blue Earth Area High School.

The trial was an activity as part of Gary Holmseth’s personal business law class that’s offered as an elective to both juniors and seniors at BEA.

Defense attorney Taylor Owen presents his case to the jury.

“The goal of this is experiential learning,” Holmseth said. “You are experiencing it by role-playing.”

The students went to the Faribault County Courthouse Monday and Tuesday afternoon to have a real courtroom setting for their dramatic case. Holmseth says Monday was spent primarily with the prosecutors — Carly Hyland and Tyler Schonrock — questioning their witnesses, while the defense got a chance to present its own witnesses on Tuesday.

Taylor Owen and Brady Bleess were attorneys for defendant Mike Mean, aka their classmate, Travis Hagedorn.

The honorable Cody Theobald acted as the judge overseeing the preceedings.

While the testimonies had been written in advance for the fictitious scenario, lawyers still had to sift through the information and make a strong case for themselves, because there was no previously decided conclusion on whether or not Mean would be guilty.

Taylor Owen (left) is shocked by a guilty verdict, while Carly Hyland is excited to hear she won the case.

And in the end, the jury found a stronger case with the prosecution.

“I feel like a million bucks,” Hyland said after successfully prosecuting her first ever “murder trial.”