October 8. 2012
One of my favorite stories that didn’t quite make the cut for the book – you can imagine what the newspapers looked like….
In January 1931 there was the stunning report of the “Red-Haired Bandit Queen”, Lucille Walker, a 19 or 23 year old (both ages were reported) who was the leader of a gang suspected of committing around 30 robberies across town – including two at the Gaylord.
Speaking openly from her cell, the naturally blond “Queen of Crooks” talked about using red and brown wigs and claimed she had profited little from her crimes – though she had sent $2000 to her mother. As for her arrest, that “was just a tough break”.
At her trial however, she told a different story. Accused alongside Otis Boyd Saunders and Alexander MacKay, she now insisted that MacKay had threatened to kill her and her mother if she didn’t cooperate in the banditry. MacKay and Saunders had both turned State’s evidence, and though MacKay exonerated her from responsibility in one of the three robberies they were charged with, a guilty verdict was pronounced on her after just 20 minutes deliberation by the Jury. Mastermind or innocent? Either way, the Judge unusually allowed her to apply for the possibility of probation.