Louisiana man, 76, accused of killing 1st wife in October 1962

A half-century after a 22-year-old woman died in southwest Louisiana, her husband is going on trial, accused of killing her.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday in the second-degree murder case against 76-year-old Felix Vail. He has asked the judge to move his trial out of Calcasieu Parish, where Mary Horton Vail died in October 1962.

Vail said she’d fallen into the Calacasieu River. He was arrested, but the coroner ruled the death an accidental drowning and a grand jury declined to indict. The Mississippi native was freed.

The current coroner reopened the investigation after The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Mississippi, published a series about Mary Vail’s death and the disappearances of two other women close to Vail in 1973 and 1984.

Vail is charged with second-degree murder. A conviction would require life in prison.

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