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Prosecutor: What Railey Told Police Conflicts With Evidence

March 11, 1988

DALLAS (AP) _ Telephone transcripts casting doubt on former minister Walker Railey’s actions the night his wife was almost choked to death were released by a prosecutor who said he wanted to ″fill in the blanks.″

The transcripts of two calls Railey made to his home answering machine the night of the attack and a note he wrote before attempting suicide 11 days later were made public Thursday by Dallas County Assistant District Attorney Norman Kinne.

In the transcripts, Railey describes his whereabouts in detail, gives times and warns his wife, Margaret ″Peggy″ Railey, to lock the garage door.

Railey, 40, told police he found his wife unconscious in the garage with a cord wrapped around her neck when he came home early April 21. Mrs. Railey remains in a coma.

Railey, senior pastor at First United Methodist Church and a rising star in the United Methodist Church, took an overdose of pills in an unsuccessful suicide attempt May 2, the day police said they planned to interview him.

After reportedly refusing 43 times to testify before a grand jury, he resigned and moved to San Francisco, leaving his wife and children, ages 2 and 5, in Texas.

Kinne said he didn’t have the evidence to bring Railey to trial.

″I feel like this may very well be the last anyone is hearing of this, and I want to fill in the blanks as much as I can,″ the prosecutor said.

The answering machine transcripts point out a number of discrepancies.

In one call, Railey said he was phoning around 10:30 p.m. and had a couple more hours of research to do at a Southern Methodist University library.

However, telephone company records indicate Railey made the call from his mobile phone at 12:04 a.m., and library employees couldn’t recall seeing Railey when he claimed he was there, Kinne said.

Railey explained he had to leave the library when it closed and was on his way to another, and later called to say he was on his way home.

″I’m not calling on the private line because I know you’re already asleep,′ he said in that message, ″but in case you get up with the kids, I just wanted you to know that I’m on my way home. It’s 12:30. I’ll be home by about 12:45. Love you, dear. Bye Bye.″

Railey called police about 15 minutes later to report he had found his wife unconscious.

In the four-page suicide note, he described himself as ″the weakest of the weak ... the baddest of the bad ... and the lowest of the low.″

He said he was taking his life because ″a demon inside my soul ... has finally gotten the upper hand ... (and) lured me into doing things I do not want to do.″

Other parts of the note were published earlier. Railey has said the letter reflected his despondency.

Kinne also said he discovered that Railey spent more than an hour that night at the home of psychologist Lucy Papillon, who reportedly told grand jurors she and Railey were having an affair.

″There’s a big gap between saying the man is not telling the truth about some things and saying therefore he strangled his wife,″ the prosecutor said. ″I’m not saying that.″

Kinne initially refused to release the transcripts, prompting ABC News to file suit. The suit failed but Kinne decided to release the material after an appeals court ruled it was up to local officials to decide the issue.

The telephone at Railey’s San Francisco apartment is unlisted, and Railey could not be reached for comment Thursday. Railey leased the apartment with Ms. Papillon.

Mrs. Railey’s mother and legal guardian, Billy Jo Nicolai, has filed a civil suit against Railey accusing him of the attack on her daughter.

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