Saturday, June 30, 2001

Man won't agree to be extradited

Ky. police allege he killed wife in 1980

By Amanda York
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A man accused of killing his wife in Verona, Ky., 21 years ago is fighting extradition from Massachusetts on murder charges, while his family members call for his execution.

        The attorney of a former Boone County man on Friday morning told a judge in Fairhaven, Mass., his client refused to sign a waiver of extradition.

        The waiver would have allowed Kentucky police to bring William Major, 57, formerly of Warehouse Road in Verona, to Kentucky where he is charged with the murder of his then-wife, 25-year-old Helen Marlene Major.

        Paula Clifford, the deputy director of district courts in Bristol County, Mass., said the next step is for Kentucky officials to obtain a governor's warrant from Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton and send it to Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift.

        Police arrested Mr. Major on Monday at his Massachusetts home. He also is charged with tampering with evidence and physical abuse of a corpse.

        For Lorraine Oakes, the mother of Ms. Major, his arrest presented some relief to the two decades she has spent mourning the loss of her daughter, whom she remembers as a “very kind and loving person.”

        “I am very glad that after almost 21 years he is going to be brought to justice,” said Lorraine Oakes, Ms. Major's mother.

Helen Major
Helen Major
        Ms. Major disappeared in 1980. A skull believed to be Ms. Major's was found on a farm neighboring the couple's Verona home. DNA tests are under way to determine whether it is Ms. Major's skull.

        Ms. Oakes described Mr. Major as a very “violent person.”She said her daughter planned to leave Mr. Major after she became convinced he had molested their two children, Lalana and Donald.

        Soon after Ms. Major's disappearance, Mr. Major moved to Rhode Island with the two children. In 1985, he was convicted in Rhode Island of two counts of first-degree sexual assault.

        “He told Marlene that if she left him he would kill every member of her family,” Ms. Oakes said.

        The children, who were 8 and 12 years old at the time, went to live with Mrs. Oakes and her husband, Bill, after their father's sentencing. The Oakeses adopted the children in 1989.

Jim Major
Jim Major
        Mr. Major's daughter, Lalana Bramble, 23, of Northern Kentucky, played an instrumental role in the arrest, Ms. Oakes said.

        Ms. Bramble kept in touch with her paternal grandfather, Jim Major, 81, who got his son to admit his guilt over the phone. A Nova Scotia newspaper reported that the elder Mr. Major said he hopes his son dies in the electric chair.

        Kentucky officials have until July 25 to get the warrant to Massachusetts, Ms. Clifford said.


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