MAY 6, 2010

Teacher Katie Bird’s Timberline High School Senior Government Class presented a mock trial at Pierce Courthouse with Judge Randall Robinson presiding. Shown left back row (l to r) are Jason Young, Sheilah McCollum and Jonathan Walker. Second row (l to r) Jake Jared, Matt Blanchard, Kody Sheets, Nicole Stuart, Gillian Thomas, Jamie Eason, Tiffany Bonner, Austin Blain, Kristina VanCorbach, Judge Randall Robinson, Jason Van Buren, Army Reichenberg, Warren Brunick, Dustin Hodges, Lundyn Jared , and Alex Opdahl. Front row (l to r) Amanda Ahart, Sommer Baker, Renee Potratz and Ayla Hutchins.


The Pierce courthouse.

 THS senior government class reenacts Kloss trial

    One of the most memorable notes in Pierce’s rich history was the case of Mike Kloss, a miner accused of murdering Edward Madsen, aged 35, a teacher in Lapwai, and wounding Lloyd Thomas, aged 53, of Lewiston on Oct. 8, 1971. The two men were on a hunting trip in the Pierce area when the incident occurred.   

   Greg Gerot thought this incident would make an interesting subject for a Pierce Sesquicentennial historical event. He approached Katie Bird, THS Senior Government class teacher, who responded by inviting the 23 seniors to participate in a mock trial. According to Ms. Bird, “The students enthusiastically embraced the project and spent much time studying the documents and preparing for the mock trial.”

   This trial was recreated from documents obtained by Michelle Nelson, Clearwater County Court Clerk. Judge Randall Robinson provided assistance by instructing the students on courtroom procedure and was the presiding judge at the mock trial.

   Students took on the roles of: Prosecution Lawyer - Amy Reichenberg, 2nd Chair - Lundyn Jared, Defense Lawyer - Ayla Hutchins, 2nd Chair - Kody Sheets, Defendant (Mike Koss) - Jamie Easom. Witnesses were; Witness 1-Austin Blain, Witness 2-Renee Potratz, Witness 3-Kristina VanCorbach, Witness 4-Sheilah McCollum, Witness 9-Nicole Stuart, Witness 5-Sommer Baker, Witness 6-Jason Young, Witness 7-Jake Jared, and Witness 8-Amanda Ahart.

   Gillan Thomas was the bailiff. Jury members were: member 1-Jon Walker, member 2-Alex Opdahl, member 3-Jeff Miller, member 4-Jason VanBuren, member 5-Tiffany Bonner, member 6-Warren Brunick, member 7-Dustin Hodges, and member 8 -Matt Blanchard.

   The students were not told of the outcome of the trial beforehand, only learning the verdict at the trial reenactment. When asked, several said they had no idea what the verdict would be.

   After the mock trial, several longtime Pierce residents recalled the original trial and offered their recollections of the events leading up to the trial and of Mike Kloss himself. Mr. Kloss was eventually acquitted, however was in jail six months awaiting trial.

   This mock trial was the Pierce Sesquicentennial event for the month of April. 2010 is the sesquicentennial of the city of Pierce, and a special event has been planned each month. May’s event is an ice cream social with a presentation on Mary Todd Lincoln.

   The courthouse dates from 1862 when Pierce was originally in Shoshone County. At that time it housed the sheriff’s office and two jail cells on the first floor, with the courthouse on the second floor. It later became part of Clearwater County.

   The building has had many uses; church, school and community building. It was purchased in 1935 by Mrs. Henry Spencer Lawson who, wanting to see the courthouse preserved, turned it over to the Idaho State Historical Society in the 1970s.

   Restoration of the Pierce (formerly Shoshone County Courthouse) is being done by the state historical society. The courthouse is open to the public.