Posted: October 2nd, 2014 | By: Lisa Snedeker
Mia Falzarano (’17) is the winner of the 2014 1L Trial Bar Competition Finals, sponsored by the Wake Forest Student Trial Bar.
The final argument, State of Worrell v. Garrett Walker, M.D., was held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014, in the Worrell Professional Center between Falzarano and Kayleigh Butterfield (’17), who was counsel for the defense.
After a hard-fought battle in front of the Honorable William L. Osteen Jr., chief district judge serving the Middle District of North Carolina, he told the competitors that they both did an outstanding job. “Without using notes you both were tremendously well prepared and poised,” he said. “I give both of you high A’s.”
He added that while the competitors were only one point apart, Falzarano’s transition “was about as good as I’ve ever seen any prosecutor make.”
Judge Osteen also complimented Butterfield on her closing argument, saying, “It was extremely powerful.”
Final Four contestants included Daniel Stratton and Sophia Vazquez and the final eight included Ryan Bowersox, Drew Culler, Kimberly Hayes and Sarah Saint. Sweet 16 contestants included Thomas Gaffney, Michael Petrov, Bradford Ramsdell, Diana Shinn, Lauren Stovall, Allie Vandriver, Sarah Wheaton and Ethan White.
The 1L Trial Bar Competition co-chairs were Zabrina Delgado (’16), Kim Sokolich (’15) and Damon Gray (’16).
“We would like to thank the local practitioners who served as judges for the competition, and Professor Carol Anderson for her help in preparing the competitors for this year’s competition,” Delgado said. “We congratulate the winners and thank each of the participants.”
Elissa Hachmeister (’16) served as a judge for the competition. “There were less competitiors this year but the quality was extremely high throughout the competition,” she said.
State of Worrell v. Walker Summary
STATEMENT OF THE CASE
This is a criminal action against Dr. Garrett Walker, personal physician to Francis J. Underwood, a well-known rock-and-roll artist with a drug habit. The State alleges that Dr. Walker committed manslaughter when he administered certain drugs to Underwood such that Dr. Walker was aware of but consciously disregarded a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the drugs would have a fatal effect.
STATEMENT OF THE FACTS
Francis Underwood, also known as “Frankie J.”, was a well-known popular musician. Underwood passed away on May 9, 2013, and was survived by his son Francis Underwood, Jr.
Francis Underwood, Jr., also known as “Little Frankie,” had been living at his father’s mansion when he died. Little Frankie claims that on May 9, he overheard his father complaining about needing pain medications and saw Walker inject something into Underwood with a syringe. Little Frankie alleges that once Walker left the room, Underwood began to convulse. When Walker returned, Little Frankie claims he saw Walker give his father more injections and later that day, Underwood was pronounced dead.
Dr. Walker had been at Underwood’s property when Underwood died. Walker claims that Underwood called him into the master suite complaining of shortness of breath after exercise. Walker alleges that he believed Underwood was “clean” and would have never given Senzaprine to someone with Underwood’s symptoms. Walker, however, believes that Senzaprine would only have been fatal if Underwood had actively been using an opiate, codeine or some sort of Vicodin. Walker claims that he left Underwood in the master suite with his medical bag when Little Frankie came in the room. When he came back into the room, Walker claims he saw Little Frankie slipping a hypodermic syringe into his boots.
Dr. Remy Danton performed the autopsy of Underwood. In his professional opinion, Underwood died on May 9, 2013, due to a massive cardiac arrest secondary to drug interactions. The toxicology screening revealed levels of Senzaprine, adrenaline and hydrocodone. The report also revealed trace amounts of cocaine, THC (marijuana), ketamine and a chemical mixture of sodium hydroxide and aluminum powder.
Dr. Zoe Barnes was hired to testify for the defense. She believes that the administration of Senzaprine is proper if someone is complaining of shortness of breath. She testifies to Underwood’s reputation for quitting cocaine and her belief that Underwood could have easily hid hydrocodone use. Dr. Barnes also believes that it is possible that the heart attack could have occurred independent of the Senzaprine.