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WR High students find gunman guilty
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The prosecution team of Leonardo Resendiz and Avery Barnes in the mock trial Jacobsen vs. the State of California is all smiles after winning their case. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT / The Bulletin

Leonardo Resendiz made a methodical point in the shooting death of a mock trial that’s long been a staple of Joe Waller’s Careers in Law Enforcement classes.

During his closing statement, the Weston Ranch High senior took the prop .38 revolver handgun used by the defendant Shannon James Jacobson alias Shakey, making his point that the shooter continuously fired away at the deceased victim, Jerry Lee Lewis.

“Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang…click, click, click,” said Resendiz, who teamed up with Avery Barnes to serve as prosecutors of the mock trial.

In this case, he used dramatic pauses to emphasis the point that Jacobson had time to think about his action.

“(Shannon) continued to fire until the case was empty,” Resendiz added. 

The defense team of Brittany Castaneda and Herick Castillo were trying to prove otherwise. They argued that Jacobson acted in self defense.

 Castillo, who provided the closing statement, slammed the pool stick cue to illustrate his point that Jacobson, who is no more that 5-foot-5, 130 pounds, was struck by that much force from the 6-4, 270-pound Lewis.

This incident took place last month as Waller, who is the longtime instructor of the Regional Occupational Program of the Manteca Unified School District, converted his classroom into a sports bar as the crime scenario.

The stage was set after Jacobson’s domestic dispute with his girlfriend Jackie, who retreated to the Star Bar.

“This is (a place) where they hang out with their friends,” said Castillo.

Jacobson arrived later only to catches Jackie in the company of Lewis. Jealous and upset, he’s struck by the cue stick after a brief fisticuff with Lewis.

His injury required a quick trip to emergency room. About an hour later, Jacobson returned to the Star Bar armed with the revolver. Already banged up, he was involved in yet another confrontation with Lewis, which ended with the shooting.

“This was a sad occasion,” Castillo said. “No one wins.

“One man is dead while one has to live with the heavy burden of taking another person’s life.”

Earlier, Castaneda provided the opening statement on behalf of the defense. She and Castillo spent a week preparing for the mock trial.

Ditto that for the prosecution team of Resendiz and Barnes, who gave the opening statement.

The jury consisted of members from the Weston Ranch High Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps. In this case, a simple majority vote was necessary.

“If it’s guilty, I’ll be devastated,” Sibley jokingly said as he reprised his role of Jacobson.

True to form, he buried his face into his clasped hands when the guilty verdict was announced.

Resendiz and Barnes were thrilled with the 10-2 vote in their favor.

All those involved came away with a greater appreciation of the judicial system process.

“We’ve been doing this for a week. (Judges and lawyers) have to do it every day – this took a lot of work,” said Resendiz.

Waller has been doing the classroom mock trials for about 15 years, adding tweaks to the script on occasions. On this day, he had two more cases involving ROP students from Manteca High / East Union in the second block, and Sierra / Lathrop High in the third block.

“How the verdict goes in the other classes is anyone’s guess,” he said.