A 76-year-old man accused of killing his wife over 50 years ago in southwest Louisiana will finally stand trial. Jury selection is underway in Calcasieu Parish as Mississippi native Felix Vail is charged with 2nd degree murder for allegedly killing his 22-year-old wife, Mary Horton Vail, in 1962. Legal analyst Tim Meche says it’s difficult to try a case after such a long time, because evidence deteriorates and there’s no DNA.
“It seems to me it’s going to be a circumstantial evidence case, but it’s not impossible to try and get convictions in these types of cases,” Meche said.
The investigation in Mary Horton Vail’s death was reopened after a Mississippi newspaper featured a series about the victim, as well as the disappearances of two other women who were close to Felix Vail in 1973 and 1984. Meche says those incidents could be discussed in the courtroom, if the judge decides it’s relevant.
“And whether its prejudicial value outweighs its relevance to the evidence,” Meche said.
Vail was arrested after his wife’s death in the 1960s, but the jury declined to indict because the death was ruled accidental. Meche says it’s cases like this that make him wish it was legal to broadcast court proceedings on TV in Louisiana.
“I wish the national media would actually pick up on it because it sounds like an absolutely fascinating case,” Meche said.