EXCLUSIVE: Family of murder victims react to Billie Wayne Coble appeal denial


The man who killed three members of his estranged wife’s family in Axtell in 1989 is now one step closer to being executed.

Billie Wayne Coble has been denied his latest appeal, and now the family of the victims is speaking out.

Ted Vicha is the brother of Bobby and Robert Vicha, and still feels the pain from the tragic day in 1989. Ted and his wife are upset that after all these years, Billie hasn’t been put to death.

“So I had four of them die at the same time,” Ted Vicha said, as he began to cry.

His other sister, who was ill at the time, also died the same day.

Ted and his wife Carolyn still feel the pain and anger after the death of his two brothers and their sister in law in 1989. 

“What was so sad….he was only in their family like less than, between a year and two years, and he murdered three people. And we’ve had to live with that. Those three people. That’s what makes no sense,” said Carolyn.

They say they re-live the moments everyday.

Carolyn continued with saying, “When we were called and told what had happened, we stopped at the police station and said, ‘Is this really true? Our brother and law told us they’re all dead, all three of them are dead!'”

“‘That’s what I thought. He killed three people and now your sister died too.’ So, it was pretty hard,” said Ted.

Coble was convicted of the August 1989 murders of his wife’s parents at their home in Axtell, and of Ted’s other brother, Waco Police Ohficer Bobby Vicha.

Bobby’s son, J.R. Vicha, is now a Waco attorney who released a statement to FOX44 News about Thursday’s appeal, saying:

“In my opinion, it is a great miscarriage of justice that this person has been able to live to see the age of 70, but I guess him being one step closer is better than nothing at this point.”

Coble was convicted and sentenced to death in 1990, but prevailed in an appeal of his death sentence. He received the death sentence again during a 2008 retrial.

Now the death sentence decision only brings up a tragic past that the family just wants to bury.

“We just cannot believe that our justice system is so poor,” says Carolyn.

Original Story:

A man accused of killing three members of his estranged wife’s family has been denied his latest appeal and will remain on death row.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans turned down the latest attempt by BIllie Wayne Coble, who was originally convicted of the triple murder and  sentenced to die in 1990.

Coble had been accused of the August 29, 1989 murders his wife’s parents, Robert and Zelda Vicha at their home in Axtell.

He was also convicted in the death of her brother, Waco police officer Bobby Vicha.

He was accused of restraining children at the home and abducting his wife Karen  and driving off.

During the ensuing manhunt, the vehicle Coble was driving was spotted in Bosque County.

During a pursuit,  Coble crashed the car into a tree.

Both he and his wife were injured but survived.

In 2007, an appeals court ordered a new trial in the punishment phase of the trial, but a second jury also called for the death penalty.

In the latest appeal, Coble’s attorney had argued that testimony of two witnesses was faulty and that, in fact, one of them offered a fictional event as part of his testimony.

The appeals court ruled that while those two witnesses did provide faulty information, their part in bringing about the overall decision of the jury was relatively small.

The next step for Coble would be to either seek another hearing before the same appeals court panel or go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

He is currently 69 years old.

Interestingly, one of the children restrained at the home during the murders grew up to enter the law.

J.R. Vicha became an attorney and for a time served as a prosecutor in the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office.

He voiced disappointment that Coble has been able to stretch out the process as long as he has.

“In my opinion, it is a great miscarriage of justice that this person has been able to live to see the age of 70, but I guess him being one step closer is better than nothing at this point.”

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