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Vail's appeal rejected; sentence adjusted - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Vail's appeal rejected; sentence adjusted

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Felix Vail Felix Vail

An appeals court has rejected a request by Felix Vail, who was convicted last year of the 1962 murder of his first wife, for a new trial. 

Vail, 77, was convicted of second-degree murder in the death of Mary Horton Vail in August 2016. He appealed that conviction, claiming that the state failed to prove he killed his wife; that evidence he may have killed other women was improperly admitted; that depositions shouldn't have been admitted in lieu of testimony; and that the 54-year delay in prosecution violated his right to a fair trial.

In a 66-page opinion, the Third Circuit Court of Appeal rejected Vail's claims, but the court did decide an error was made in his sentencing. 

The mandatory sentence for a conviction of second-degree murder is life in prison without benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence. Although the trial judge did give Vail that sentence, he neglected to state specifically that the sentence was to be served "at hard labor." The appeals court ordered that the trial's minutes be edited to reflect that his sentence is to be served at hard labor. 

To read our most recent story about the case, click here

Here's the court's entire ruling, which contains a lot of detail about the evidence presented at the trial: 

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