Show Notes: A Murdering Pastor John Douglas White and Hero Bass Reeves

This show, “Michigan and other Mayhem”, is a sort of factual, slightly comical, always earnest podcast about interesting stuff in Michigan and around the world. It is done by two sisters-in-law (Ali and Jenn) that like to talk about random interesting stories.  Expect cults, mysteries, murder, fast-talking, and a couple of mental palate cleansers… and cuss words.  Those happen on this show, a lot.

Episode 8: Pastor John White kills on Rebekah Gay on Halloween and Bass Reeves

Click Here to Listen to Episode 8

Warning: This podcast occasionally contains strong language which may be unsuitable for children.


  • Pretend podcast music (because we couldn’t find any we liked enough for a theme song)
  • Ali has a weird laugh. It is often loud.
  • Ali peppers Jenn with questions and they giggle fits.
  • You can hear Jenn’s dog drinking water at one point. It’s cool, it is just that some beings can’t hold their lickers.


Pastor John White kills on Rebekah Gay on Halloween

  • October 31, 2012, Pastor John White killed Rebekah and hid her body in nearby woods
  • He then dressed Rebekah’s son in his Halloween costume and then drove the son to his father’s house to trick or treat
  • John had killed Rebekah by strangling her with a zip tie and beating her with a mallet
  • He was her pastor
    • The congregation was fully aware of John’s colored past
    • He had been released from prison in 2007 after serving 12 years for the manslaughter of a 26-year-old woman
      • John had received probation for stabbing and choking a 17-year-old girl
    • A fellow parishioner said that John was doing a lot of good in the community and Satan didn’t want him to do that, causing John to kill Rebekah
      • Ali believes that statement is meant to absolve him of personal responsibility
      • Jenn thinks they were trying to make themselves feel better
    • At 2 a.m. John went to Rebekah’s house to kill her
      • He confesses to the strangling and beating and having sexual fantasies about murdering her and having sex with her body
      • However, he could not remember if he did have sex with her after he murdered her
      • The police did have her body, but they didn’t mention if she had been sexually assaulted
    • John Douglas White was a woman attacker with a history
    • Six months after being sentenced to jail, he killed himself
      • He was 55 years old at the time of the murder
      • Rebekah was only 24 years old
      • You can see John’s mug shot online
    • Just because men look like Santa, doesn’t mean they are nice
    • Ali and Jenn discuss whether Rebekah’s son is in therapy and why didn’t John admit to having sex with Rebekah’s body

Bass Reeves

  • Born into slavery, living from July 1838 to January 1910
    • 6’2”, good manners with a sense of humor
  • Jenn, who is a small person, has the confidence of a person who is 6’2”
    • It may be her liquid courage height
  • As a slave, he was held under George R. Reeves, a sheriff and Texas legislator
    • Served in the Civil War, fighting for the Confederacy
      • Ran away between 23 and 27 years old
    • There are a couple stories as to how he left his slavery situation ran away
    • One is that he was in a fist fight with his master and had to run afterwards
    • One is that he saw other freedmen during the war and decided to make a break for it
  • He fled to the Indian Territory, lawless area, to live with Cherokee, Seminole, and Creek Indians
    • Until the 13th Amendment abolished slavery
  • He married Nellie Jennie from Texas and had 10-11 children
    • Nellie Jennie sounds is the name of a pure and loving woman
    • No hospital for all those kids
  • They were a family of farmers until Bass was in his 30’s and Isaac Parker was appointed federal judge over the Indian Territory
    • Parker appointed James F. Fagan as US Marshall, directing him to hire 200 deputy US marshals
      • Fagan had heard about Reeves who was familiar with the territory and spoke several Native American languages
      • Reeves had also served as a scout and guide for marshals in Indian Territory
      • He was considered an expert marksman with both a rifle and a pistol
        • He was barred from competitive turkey shoots for being too good
        • He was known for wearing two colt pistols, butt forward, for fast draw
        • Ambidextrous, either hand could shoot to kill you
      • recruited him
    • It was a very dangerous area of law enforcement
      • Before OK became a state, more than 200 marshals had been killed in the line of duty
      • Not a job for sissies
    • First black deputy US Marshal west of Miss. River
      • He works the territory until 1893 then transfers twice to other departments before retiring
        • Worked for 32 years as a federal police officer (at age 68)
        • This is the same year OK became a state
        • After retiring from the territories, he joined the Muskogee Police Department, serving two years before retiring at age 70
      • Arrested more than 3,000 felons
        • Shot and killed 14 outlaws in self-defence
        • He was one of Judge Parker’s most valued deputies, bringing in some of the most dangerous criminals
      • He was never wounded although he had his hat shot off a few times, his gun belt was once shot off, and once someone’s shot managed to break his horse’s rein, but not hit either him or the horse
    • He became a legend in the area and was the inspiration for… the Lone Ranger
      • NOT a white man on a white horse with a white hat but a black escaped slave
      • Reeves was imposing with his height
      • Had a reputation for being courageous and successful in his pursuit of criminals
      • He rode a white stallion and a red one
        • Known for having healthy large horses
      • He was a sharp dresser, known for politeness and courtesy
      • A master of disguises, and often used aliases
        • He would pretend to be a cowboy, farmer, gunslinger or an outlaw
      • The first TV show to be put into reruns was “The Lone Ranger”.
      • He had his own trials:
      • His hardest arrest had to be the time he arrested his own son for murder
        • Bennie Reeves was charged with the murder of his wife.
        • Bass Reeves demanded the responsibility for bringing his son in
          • After tracking him and finding Bennie, Bennie was convicted
          • Bennie served his time in Leavenworth, before being released and living the rest of his life as a law-abiding citizen
        • Bass Reeves, himself, was charged with the murder of a posse cook
          • His trial was presided over by Judge Parker and Reeves was represented by a former US Attorney WHH Clayton
          • He was acquitted, not a surprise when the judge is your friend
        • Cool facts:
          • Bass Reeves was a great uncle to Paul L. Brady, who became the first black man appointed as a federal judge in 1972
          • OK was renamed the Bass Reeves Memorial bridge
          • a bronze statue of Reeves was erected in Pendergraft Park in Arkansas
          • Bass Reeves was inducted into the Texas Trail of Fame
          • Also, books and TV shows have been made about his life
          • He is in the Cowboy Hall of Fame in OK
        • Are we the only ones who didn’t know about Bass?

Published by Michigan and other mayhem

Random Michigan and mayhem, you know you want it.

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