Dorothy goes free in mock murder trial

By Megan Moser

“Wizard of Oz” fans can breathe a sigh of relief.

Dorothy Gale was aquitted Saturday in a mock trial at the Columbian Theatre in Wamego.

The beloved character was tried for the murder of the Wicked Witch of the West and theft of a pair of ruby slippers. The event was a part of the two-day OztoberFest and served as a fundraiser for the K-State Mock Trial Club, which staged the proceedings.

Witnesses included one of the witch’s flying monkeys, Glinda the Good Witch and the Wizard.

The audience served as the jury and aquitted Dorothy by a narrow margin of 65-62, according to Columbian Theatre officials.

Mary Beth Peterson, a theater employee and Manhattan resident, said people were still talking about the trial after they left.

“A gentleman in the gift shop commented that he felt we needed to get the jury from some other place,” she said. “He didn’t think Dorothy could get a fair trial in Kansas.”

Others commented that she should have been tried for two counts of involuntary manslaughter (one for the Wicked Witch of the West and one for dropping the house on the Wicked Witch of the East) instead of murder since the deaths were accidental.

Either way, Peterson said the audience enjoyed the trial. And now Dorothy and the entire Kansas tourism industry can breathe easy knowing the “Wizard of Oz” storyline hasn’t changed.

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