St. Landry

Mar 19, 2014 7:45 PM by Akeam Ashford

Judge in Vail trial: Evidence of other missing women allowed

Calcasieu Parish Judge Robert Wyatt ruled that evidence in two other cases involving missing women can be used in the murder trial of 74-year old William Felix Vail.


Vail is facing a second-degree murder charge in Calcasieu Parish. Vail's wife, Mary Horton Vail, was killed 50 years ago. Prosecutors say Vail allegedly killed his wife in October 1962. He claims she drowned in the Cacasieu River while they were running trotlines. Vail has pleaded not guilty.

Today, the judge heard arguments from from both the prosecution and defense.


Vail's attorney argued that there is no evidence tying Vail to either Sharon Hensley or Annette Craver Vail, who according to witnesses, says Vail was the last known person to see both women alive.

The defense also tried to prevent information on both women from being used in the murder trial, suggesting that authorities never have been able to turn up a body.


During the proceeding, Vail seemed to become uncomfortable, mumbling to himself. Several times, his attorney specifically advised him, "Shut up!"


The judge acknowledged the defenses argument, that there is no way to tell if either woman is alive, but said neither woman has been seen or heard from since Vail was last seen with them.


Family members of Mary Vail were in the courtroom. Mary Vail's nephew, Steve Horton, who wasn't born at the time says, the judge's admittance of information from women's dissapearance may finally yield a guilty verdict for the family.

"It is validating that something did happen in 1962, and something later with Sharnon Hensley and then something happened with Annette Vail that will give a lot of people some comfort that something did happen," Horton said.


The judge has set another hearing in the trial for May 7th, at 9:00 a.m. at the Calcasieu courthouse.

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