Victim's family responds to Felix Vail's life sentence - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Victim's family responds to Felix Vail's life sentence

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The Calcasieu Parish man convicted of killing his wife in 1962 now knows what sentence he'll serve for the crime.

A jury convicted Felix Vail of murder last month for the death of his wife, Mary Horton Vail, whose body was found in the Calcasieu River more than half a century ago. 

Monday, a judge sentenced the 77-year-old to life in prison.

"54 years later, life in prison. Life is good," said Mary Horton Vail's younger brother, Will Horton, who's been an advocate for the case since her death.

It's been more than half a century since Horton has seen his beloved sister alive; he and his family have waited just as long for this day in court.

"And I looked him directly in the eye and paused and said, 'You are a killer.' I'm flowing with emotion right now. Long time coming, but it finally has happened so that's wonderful," said Horton.

Horton said numb is the best word to describe what more than 50 years without answers felt like for the Horton family. But Monday, the Hortons felt everything.

"I had turned cold. I had no emotion. Seeing him, I don't hate. I don't have anger. It's nothing. I have no feelings for him. But today, the emotion came through," said Horton. "And I think when I did my statement, that's when I started shaking. It's still kind of there right now."

Vail maintains his innocence, and his attorneys objected to his sentence. They have plans to file follow up motions with the court.

"He's convinced himself that he's innocent of all these things because he justify what he did. So, in his strange way of thinking, he's exonerated himself for the actions that he did. And I said that I didn't think he was man enough to fess up to the truth," said Horton.

Vail will spend the rest of his life in prison, but not even that can bring Mary Horton Vail back to her little brother.

"I just haven't met anyone in the world like her before. Period," said Horton.

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