A trifecta of murder trials will kick off the May/June jury docket on Tuesday.
A Cache woman is scheduled to go on trial Tuesday for allegations she killed her husband and made it look like a suicide.
Loretta Van Buren, 63, is facing a first-degree murder charge.
Van Buren was bound over for trial in August 2022 for the September 2019 shooting death of her husband, Terry. He was found lying on the bed in their bedroom with a gunshot wound to the back of the head.
Investigators allege that dire financial straits and built-up issues in the couple’s marriage led to her pulling the trigger so she could collect $300,000 in insurance money. According to testimony from Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) Agent Michael Francis, investigators believe Loretta Van Buren pulled the trigger and staged the scene to appear to be a suicide because the couple was deep in debt.
Terry Van Buren’s concrete business was failing and after Loretta Van Buren, who had been laid off from The Lawton Constitution in April 2018 remained unemployed at the time of her husband’s death. She told investigators she’d been out running errands and discovered her husband dead around 5 p.m. Sept. 2, 2019.
Evidence showed the .40 caliber handgun used had been moved “up to three times” before law enforcement arrived.
The defense argues that Terry Van Buren had significant health problems, including a recent diagnosis of Hepatitis-C, as well as testimony to his depression and use of Xanax.
Loretta Van Buren has been free on $250,000 bond since her initial court appearance in April 2020.
The trial will be held in Chief District Judge Scott D. Meaders’ courtroom.
District Judge Grant Sheperd will preside over the murder trial of a man accused of killing a man he considered a romantic rival.
Larry Keith Standridge II, 42, is on trial for a count of second-degree murder stemming from the November 2020 shooting death of James David Cloud, 31, of Chattanooga. Cloud was killed by a gunshot wound to the neck, according to the Oklahoma State Medical Examiner’s autopsy report.
Standridge is accused of going to Cloud’s home, 604 Monroe, the night of Nov. 23, 2020, and of committing the crime. Witnesses later told investigators they’d seen a white Jeep Compass parked at Cloud’s home and had heard a gunshot the night of the murder. Standridge owns the same model of Jeep and was seen by one neighbor standing on Cloud’s porch. A nearby security video also captured images of the Jeep driving toward Cloud’s home.
Cloud was discovered by a co-worker who came to his house on Nov. 24, 2020, to check on him after he failed to show up for work.
According to the probable cause affidavit, it was discovered that Cloud had been shot, dragged across the floor of his home and left lying on the kitchen floor.
Investigators soon learned that Standridge was the ex-fiancé of the woman who would be identified as the connection between the men, Mariah Sotelo.
At the time of the killing, Standridge had been out of jail on a $30,000 bond for about a week. He was accused of kidnapping, restraining, terrorizing and sexually abusing Sotelo over a three-day period of Nov. 10-12, 2020.
Following days of trial in October 2022, Standridge was found guilty of felony counts of kidnapping, first-degree rape and a misdemeanor count of domestic assault and battery and ordered to serve a life sentence for the rape count.
Standridge has been in Oklahoma Department of Corrections custody since his sentence was affirmed in December 2022.
Presiding District Judge Emmit Tayloe will hear the first-degree murder trial of a man accused of pulling the trigger in a September 2021 shooting death.
Coyante Jacoy Williams, 23, faces a count of first-degree murder for allegations he shot Kalob R. Porter, 20, during the incident. He was originally charged with shooting with intent to kill but when Porter died a few days later, the charge was amended. He also is accused of assault and battery with a deadly weapon and kidnapping.
Williams is accused of shooting Porter in the head on Sept. 8, 2021, during the incident at 437 NW 53rd. Responders found Porter lying near the fence line in the backyard.
A 17-year-old girl who said she’d stepped in between Williams and Porter when they were fighting was shot in the abdomen. According to the probable cause affidavit, she said he forced her into his car and took her to another location before he fled.
Williams has been free on $75,000 bond since November 2021.