Possible Break in Mayberry Murder - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

WASKOM, TEXAS

Possible Break in Mayberry Murder

     In a KSLA News 12 investigation:  We have uncovered potential new evidence in a 13-year old cold case.  It involves a possible connection between accused killer Eric Mickelson and murder victim Kayla Mayberry.
     "Where that window is over there, is where they sat," pointed Paula Vassal.  She will never forget waitressing that Sunday morning on October 23, 1994, at a restaurant right off Interstate 20 in Waskom, Texas.  That's when a strange man and a sick woman came to eat breakfast.  
     Vassal described the man's behavior as odd.  "He said, 'can you believe this, you know.  She's so pretty and everything.  And she's with me.'"  Vassal vividly recalled the young woman.  "She just kept laying her head down.  She just wanted to lay down."
     Vassal watched our reports on accused killer Eric Mickelson, and wanted to see a younger picture of him.  So we brought one.  Her response:  "That's him!  I'd bet a million bucks that's him."
     Then we showed her a photo of Kayla Mayberry.  "That's her, that's her!" repeated Vassal.  She also remembered that he kept feeding the young woman jelly.  "He would almost just open her mouth and just pop those strawberry packs in her mouth."
     Vassal decided to get involved.  "I asked her at one time I said, 'are you okay?'  She said, 'yeah.'  She said, 'yeah, I'm okay.  I just don't feel good."
     Mayberry had last been seen in downtown Shreveport on Saturday October 22, 1994, which matched what the man told Vassal adding, "...'cause he told me that he just met her the night before.  They'd been out dancing.'"
     Vassal drove the 8-miles to the house hidden in the woods where Mayberry's body was discovered weeks after her disappearance.  Investigators suspected the killer knew this area.  And Vassal remembered something he'd said.  "They had been driving all along the dirt roads."  But despite speaking with Waskom Police, nothing ever came of it.
     Eric Mickelson now has two attorneys representing him for a death penalty case.  Mickelson will be represented by David Price and Mario Guadamud.  They are attorneys from a group that defends suspects in capital murder cases.
     The Caddo Sheriff's Office says Mickelson and 38-year old Bevery Arthur confessed to killing 86-year old Charles Martin back on July 11th.  They say he also confessed to killing Kristi O'Pry 11-years ago.  In fact, the Caddo CSI team is still searching an area just outside Shreveport near the American Rose Center where Mickelson reportedly told them to look for O'Pry's remains.
     But Sheriff Steve Prator has told KSLA News 12 he will not elaborate on anything else Mickelson is saying.  However, shortly after Mickelson's arrest the sheriff did say publicly there's a possibility Mickelson is a serial killer.
     Both Mickelson and Arthur are scheduled to be arraigned on September 7th.

Story by Jeff Ferrell 

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