Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Killing suspect could return

Extradition hearing set for ex-Ky. man

By Ray Schaefer
Enquirer Contributor

        BURLINGTON — The man accused in a 1980 killing in Verona could be back in Boone County this week.

        William Major, 57, of Fairhaven, Mass. and formerly of Verona, is charged in the death of his wife, Helen Marlene Major. He has been held without bail at the Bristol County Jail in Dartmouth, Mass.

        Last week, Boone County Commonwealth Attorney Linda Tally Smith sent a warrant for Mr. Major's return signed by Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton to Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift. Bristol County Assistant District Attorney Paula Clifford said it reached her office Monday.

        Mr. Major is scheduled to appear for an extradition hearing at 2 p.m. Wednesday before Bristol District Judge David Turcotte. He could be in Kentucky by Wednesday night.

        Mr. Major is charged with murder, tampering with evidence and physical abuse of a corpse.

        Now that Massachusetts has the warrant, Mr. Major can avoid extradition only if he files an appeal and proves he is not the man Boone County authorities want or that there is not a crime for which he is wanted.

        “Im not sure if we know if he's going to fight this or not,” Ms. Clifford said.

        Mr. Major's attorney, Richard Foster of New Bedford, Mass., could not be reached for comment Monday.

        Mrs. Major was 25 at the time of her disappearance from her Verona home. She was last seen Oct. 10, 1980 at her trailer home on Ware house Road in Verona near the intersection of Ky. 16 and Ky. 14. She lived with Mr. Major and their two children.

        On Nov. 30, 1981, a skull believed to be Mrs. Major's was found on a Waller Road farm about a mile from where the Majors lived in 1980.

        Mr. Major and the children moved to Rhode Island. He was convicted in 1985 of two counts of first-degree sexual assault and served nearly 12 years of a 15-year sentence when he was released in 1996.

        A former houseguest, Glenn St. Hilaire, has said Mr. Major told him if Mrs. Major ever left him, he would “shoot her, knock her teeth out and cut off her head.”

        John Doherty of the New Bedford (Mass.) Standard-Times contributed.


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