Category Archives: Louisiana

Public defender appointed for man accused of killing his wife 51 years ago

A man accused of killing his wife more than 50 years ago will be represented by a public defender — for now. According to the Louisiana Clarion-Ledger:

Vail, 73, is charged with murder in the 1962 death of Mary Horton Vail, who reportedly drowned in the Calcasieu River that runs next to downtown Lake Charles, La.

At the time of her death, Vail told deputies that his wife had accidentally fallen into the water while he was laying trotlines. Deputies at the time found his trotlines still coiled in his tackle box, according to the arrest warrant.

The coroner at the time ruled her death an accident, but Calcasieu Parish Coroner Dr. Terry Welke recently ruled Mary Vail’s death a homicide, saying she was dead before she ever went into the water.

Vail was the last known person to see three women alive: Mary Vail; his longtime girlfriend Sharon Hensley, who disappeared in 1973; and his wife, Annette Vail, who disappeared in 1984.

An intensive investigation by the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Department and district attorney’s office in Lake Charles led to Vail’s arrest.

Talk about a cold case! Whoever represents Vail will have a fascinating challenge on his or her hands…

LA: Public defender office runs short of funds

From The Advertiser:

The 15th Judicial District public defender’s office, which provides free or reduced-cost legal representation to offenders who can’t afford it, is cutting pay and laying off attorneys because it’s running short of money.

“The short of it is … we are underfunded to the detriment of clients,” district public defender G. Paul Marx wrote in a March 21 letter to Julie Kilborn, interim chief defender, Louisiana Public Defender Board.

Funding that supports the office is expected to have dropped by more than $1 million by the end of June, following a shortfall of $566,458 from November through February and an expected $547,000 drop in the fourth quarter, which ends June 30.

Read the entire article.