Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Dead wife's ex-lover testifies in day two of murder trial

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

BURLINGTON - A former lover of Helen Marlene Major testified Tuesday that her husband threatened to kill her at least 12 times if she ever left him.

Glenn St. Hilaire was on the stand most of Tuesday, the second day of the trial of William Alexander Major. Major, 59, of Fairhaven, Mass., is charged with murder and tampering with physical evidence in connection with his wife's disappearance 23 years ago in Verona.

"Bill did mention on several occasions that his wife was not allowed to leave him," St. Hilaire said. "He said if she tried to leave he would shoot her, cut off her head and knock her teeth out. He said this a dozen times."

Helen Major's skull was recovered more than a year after her disappearance on a farm Major has done some handiwork on. It took the advent of modern DNA analysis to positively identify the skull because the teeth had been removed.

St. Hilaire, a native French-Canadian, said he met the family after his car broke down on the interstate in Northern Kentucky.

Major, who operated a garage, made a business of repairing vehicles of stranded motorists. He fixed St. Hilaire's vehicle when it blew a head gasket while pulling a trailer to Texas.

St. Hilaire never made it to Texas, instead moving in with the Major family. St. Hilaire said he soon was having a sexual affair with Mrs. Major. "It seem like he (Major) encouraged it," St. Hilaire said. "He created situations where we were alone together."

The couple were fighting the day Helen Major disappeared, St. Hilaire said, and he left to have a cup of coffee at a restaurant. When he returned, they were gone. Major eventually returned to say his wife had left him.

The trial, estimated to last 10 days, continues today with prosecutors calling more witnesses. Still to testify are Major's children, who say their father molested them.


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