Victim or Villain?

1906, a beautiful young 13 year old girl should have been playing with her friends outside or with her dolls , but she was working as a stenographer in the court. Little Laura Mary first crossed paths with Charles Reuter, age 36, when she was at work typing the minutes of events leading Charles’ first wife, Mamie, to sue him for divorce. Charles took notice of sweet Laura. Whether he courted her or raped her, no one will ever know, but he got her pregnant. Laura was forced to marry Charles in the fall of 1907 at 14 years old, though there is no record of the marriage, just to save face. He, then, took her from her family and friends in Illinois and moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma. While in Tulsa, he began telling people that he met that he was 30 and Laura was 20 years old, so no one would suspect anything. Charles made a living deceiving the public, so it was easy for him to convince people of whatever he told them. He was an attorney, politician, and head of the school board in Tulsa, so who would doubt what he said? However, there was another side to Charles T. Reuter that he only showed Laura. He was an abusive drunk, that took advantage of her when he wanted, but offered no love, or affection.

Laura tried to tell Charles partner how he treated her but, Ben Ramisay wouldn’t hear it. Leaving her to the only people that she could turn to, her neighbors, Guy and Stella Mckenzie. Guy was a contract well digger and Stella Mckenzie, his little sister. Guy

would often come over and help with the outside chores while Charles was away and Stella would help Laura with the children. It wasn’t long before rumors flooded the neighborhood that Guy was romantically interested in Laura, which got back to Charles. Charles, in a fit of rage, threatened the lives of Guy and Stella. Stella tried to explain that nothing was going on between her brother and Laura, but Charles demanded that they never return to his home. or around Laura ever again. He purchased a gun that he used to scare and threaten Laura. After that, Laura’s life became dramatically worse. Charles refused to allow Laura to even be around women, not allowing her to leave the home, accept to run errands. But, Laura was clever, and found ways to stay in contact with her friends. She devised a system to let them know when the coast was clear if they wanted to come over. She would casually open her blinds and put a vase of flowers in her window when it was safe, if the flowers were not there, it was not safe to approach.

When Charles would go out of town, Laura would sneak to see Stella in her home or stopping by to say a word or two with Guy. However, it all came to an end, because Charles eventually found out. After a particular rough night for Laura, that was well heard in the neighborhood, Guy came up with a plan to get Charles out of the picture for good. He knew of a man named Joe Baker that had already been jailed for burglary and thought he could be paid money to kill Charles. Guy spoke in secret to Laura and a man named Glover (Bud) Bellows who was the driver that took Guy out of Tulsa to Skiatook the day the murder was to happen to provide an alibi. Laura went along with the idea, and both Guy and Laura were to share the $500 expense they offered Joe to murder Charles. It was to look like a burglary gone wrong, and to further sweeten the deal, they told Joe of diamonds and a large sum of cash that will be in Charles’ breast pocket.

Once the plan was in place and everyone knew what they had to do, they put the plan into motion and on the night of May 5th, 1912, Laura opened the window to allow access to the basement. She used the agreed upon signal and the gun that Charles bought to kill the Mckenzies if they came over again, making sure it was loaded and available. She then took her children and went to bed in the bedroom down the hall from her husband. Bud had already drove Guy to Skiatook where he made sure to have many witnesses to have the alibi he needed. Joe was told exactly where to go to find Charles, and it only took him moments before he entered Charles’ room. Shooting him twice in the head Joe snatched the diamonds and the money and took off. At the firing of the first shot, Laura ran to her window and climbed on the ledge to give the neighbors a show that she was there and not inside.

A solid plan, and no one would have put Guy or Laura or Bud in the line for this murder. The police decided it was a random burglary. All was good, accept Bud ,feeling full of guilt, decided to turn himself in for his part, revealing the whole horrible truth. He received immunity for his confession, only if He was a witness against the rest. Laura was tried in Bartlesville, Ok in front of Judge Hudson. Her bail set for $5000, but Judge Hudson had a soft spot for Laura and her small children, so he let her stay with her children in a motel, during the trial. After 28 days of trial, Guy and Joe were found guilty in a Tulsa court and sentenced to life in prison..

Laura was found guilty in Sept, 1913. The judge couldn’t bring himself to make her go to prison, and continued to allow her to stay in the motel with her children, Marcella age 7 and Johnny, age 5 . She went to see Joe and Guy in jail using the name “Mary Gordon” and begged them to say she had nothing to do with the murder. The judge, never liking the idea of her conviction granted her a new trial 5 days later, stating that the closing argument was too long and detrimental to her. The judge made sure she never saw the inside of a jail. Judge Hudson oversaw the next trial that began in January, 1914. Laura became ill before the next trial, but the prosecuting attorney had his doctor check her out and he reported that she may be faking. Laura showed up everyday of her new trial by chair and was acquitted of all charges just a few days after the trial began.

April, 1914, Laura was rewarded her home, and land and $850 of Charles’ money. She was never heard from again, though it is believed she married someone from her trial in 1915 and moved to Cuba. At the same time of her possible wedding, both Mackenzie and Baker attempted to escape prison but got caught.

Baker was given parole in 1935 with a full pardon in 1942, having no more trouble with the law. Guy Mckenzie was granted clemency in 1919, and was in and out of jail on other charges until 1938. He died in 1952 in Sand Springs, OK.

In 2015, a resident that lived in the home, reported seeing the ghost of a man, possibly Charles at the top of the stairs.

~Victoria, G.E.E.K.S paranormal historian

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