Twenty-Four Years After She Was Left to Die, Peggy Railey, Wife of Walker, Is Gone
|Photo by Mark Graham|
|Peggy Railey in the Tyler nursing home where she's spent the last 20 years|
Even if you were not in Dallas in April 1987, you likely know what happened: She was found strangled in the garage of the home she shared with her husband, First United Methodist Church senior pastor Walker Railey. Peggy's family told former Observer columnist and Dallas Mayor Laura Miller, then at the Dallas Times Herald, they were certain who'd put that wire around their daughter's throat: Walker, who, it was revealed, was having an affair with a woman named Lucy Papillon. Ella Renfro, Peggy's 87-year-old grandmother, told Laura there was motive: "A divorced man doesn't get to be bishop."
Railey and his attorney, Doug Mulder, always maintained his innocence; Walker said he'd lied about his whereabouts that night to cover his affair. Mulder, the former prosecutor, told Mike Shropshire in the fall of 1987: "If you're going to create an alibi, you'd better create a better one than Walker did." After he was acquitted of attempted murder in 1993, Walker hit the lecture circuit. Laura, whose coverage of the trial won her and this paper awards, wrote in 1996 that the only reason Walker walked was because of "the egregious handling of this case by our own Dallas County District Attorney John Vance ... who was ill and clueless at the time of the Railey trial [and] sent two shrubs to San Antonio to lose the case."
Walker was last seen on Facebook, claiming to work for a California church. But now, finally, Peggy Railey is at peace.