I.M. Wolf verdict: Guilty

Published 6:30 pm Sunday, May 23, 2010

Lifestyles & Features Editor

The trial of a defendant accused of two counts of destruction of property and three counts of attempted assault unfolded Friday afternoon in the Beaufort County Courthouse.
I.M. Wolf, also known as the Big Bad Wolf, was the focal point of a mock trial that served as a lesson in the judicial system for first-graders from Eastern Elementary School in Washington. Cast as the defendant was Assistant District Attorney Michael Holloman, who was joined by Chief Assistant District Attorney Tom Anglim, Beaufort County Clerk of Court Marty Paramore and deputy Will Gibbs with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.
“Every chance we get, we welcome a group to come here,” Paramore said. “We give them a tour of the courthouse and talk to them about the different parts of the court system — the judge, attorneys, law enforcement, the jury.”
The mock trial allows the youngsters to see the judicial process in action, according to Paramore.
“We show them how important the court system is and how important each job is, especially the jury,” he said.
Paramore added that he recalls attending such a mock trial when he was a youngster; as the tallest in his class, he was singled out to be the judge.
“They gave me a robe to wear, and I don’t think they wanted it dragging the floor,” he said with a laugh.
Friday’s mock trial was serious business. Wolf was charged with destroying two homes, one made of straw belonging to Wilbur Pig, portrayed by Paramore. The second, constructed of sticks, belonged to witness Priscilla Pig, portrayed by teacher Merilyn Crisp.
A third witness, Charlie Pig, testified that after Wolf destroyed the first two homes, the defendant attempted to assault the three little pigs as they sought refuge in a house made of bricks. Charlie was portrayed by classroom parent Melissa Keech.
In his defense, Wolf testified he was driving his “Wolf Mobile” when he ran out of gas in the Pigs’ neighborhood. He claimed that he was only seeking to use a telephone when the incidents occurred.
After deliberating, the jury — made up of students, school staff, parents and grandparents — found Wolf guilty on all counts. “Judge” Andrew Keech sentenced Wolf to 20 weeks in jail.
“The fact that we have people from the D.A.’s office and the sheriff’s office willing to come together and do this is a really good thing,” Paramore said after the trial. “When you look at the young participants, you’re seeing the future judges, attorney … the future leaders.”