United Kingdom

Louisiana man charged with shooting dead his wife in 1977 after his alibi recants

A Louisiana man who was long considered a suspect in his wife's murder more than 40 years ago has now been charged with shooting her dead in their fried chicken restaurant. 

Chester Vegas Sr., 78, was taken into custody in Lafourche Parish in New Orleans last Friday over the murder of his wife Diane Vegas back in October 1977.

The charges were brought against Vegas after investigators reopened the case last October after someone informed them that Vegas had allegedly secretly confessed years ago to killing his wife.

An unidentified person who had originally provided an alibi for Vegas also recently recanted their statement. 

Chester Vegas Sr., 78, was taken into custody in Lafourche Parish in New Orleans last Friday over the murder of his wife Diane Vegas back in October 1977

Authorities were called to the couple's restaurant, The Chicken House, on October 10, 1977 after Vegas said he had found his wife dead in the kitchen.

Officers discovered Diane's body inside the restaurant with a single gunshot wound to the back.  

The cash registered had been tampered with and the phone was off the hook when investigators examined the scene.   

The charges were brought against Vegas after investigators reopened the case last October after someone informed them that Vegas had allegedly secretly confessed years ago to killing his wife

Vegas was questioned over his wife's killing but was released without charge.

He was considered a suspect until the case went cold. 

It was reopened in October last year following new information that led to investigators being able to obtain an arrest warrant. 

Investigators, who reviewed the case files, said one witness who had initially provided an alibi for Vegas later recanted his statement, the Daily Comet reports. 

A second person also told authorities that Vegas had allegedly confessed years ago to killing Diane.   

'We hope this arrest can begin to bring some closure to the Vegas family who have been living with questions about Diane's death for nearly 44 years,' Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre said. 

'New information combined with the initial investigation helped us build probable cause for the arrest.' 

Detectives obtained a warrant for his arrest on June 11.

He was booked into the Lafourche Parish Correctional Complex in Thibodaux on one count of Second Degree Murder. 

He was released that same day after posting $50,000 bail.  

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