Historic Court Trials Being Reenacted

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) - Have you ever wondered what it would be like to see an exciting murder trial from the 19th century? What if it was a trial by the infamous "Hangin" Judge, Isaac Parker inside his courtroom?

Actors will either plead guilty or not guilty on Friday (Jan.29) as two trials will be acted out at the Fort Smith Historic Site right inside the courtroom of Judge Isaac Parker who was famously known as "The Hangin" judge.

One of the two trials that volunteers will reenact is the United States vs. Arena Howe case. Howe was a widow living near Tulsa. One day she pulled the trigger and killed Albert Church who was a man accused of personal violations.

The other trial reenactment is the United States vs. Mollie Speaks. Speaks was arrested for the murder of a three-month old during the summer of 1884.

The night court actors have all learned the exact transcript from those trials so everything will look and sound like it originally did over 100 years ago.

"This tells a story about the Fort Smith region and Oklahoma," said Park Ranger Cody Faber.

According to Faber, "Oklahoma was so affected by Fort Smith decisions that were made in Fort Smith and inside this building."

The event is sold out for this weekend, but they're already taking reservations for the next reenactment. The Fort Smith Historic Site do these three to four times a year.