Guilty, innocent — ‘Twelve Angry Jurors’ must decide

By Shelby Stewart
Staff Writer
Eleven jurors say the man is guilty of murder. One juror says not. The deliberation that ensues sparks anger, heated arguments, prejudice and plenty of conflicting personalities all seeking justice.
Sit in the courtroom with “Twelve Angry Jurors” as the Lapeer Community Theatre and the Friends of the Historic Courthouse present the 1954 Reginald Rose classic drama.
The premise of the play is the deliberation of 12 jurors of a murder trial in the 1950s. All jurors have a unanimous guilty vote except for one, and the vote must be unanimous or result in a mistrial. The single scene play runs 80 minutes, and speaks to issues of prejudice.
“What I found really interesting, I think just the relevance of today,” said Larry Malan. “ I can’t believe how much of it hasn’t changed in a sense.”
Malan, who plays one of the jurors, is a resident of Atlas Township.
“He (the juror) is a glad-handed salesman type, so he is quick to form opinions, quick to anger,” said Malan. “There’s a point where he finally recognizes, despite his quick judgement, he sees that the pieces of the timing of testimonies don’t seem to match, and I think at that point is when he gets to open and see that it’s not just an open and shut case.

“He’s basically just trying to get out of there, he wants to get this thing done and over with.”
Director Pat Stiles, a former Ortonville resident of 25 years, is directing the show in her directorial debut.
The play, which has been adapted for a movie as well, follows the story of a murder trial. The man on trial is accused of killing his father, and the play brings out the various issues each of the jurors have with the case, such as prejudice or issues with their own father.
At 7:30 p.m., March 30, April 5 and 6 at the Lapeer County Historic Courthouse, 235 West Nepessing St., Lapeer. Tickets are available at for $25 per ticket, and will not be available at the door. Half of the proceeds will go to fix the dome in the historic court house. For more information, email

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