Who Killed Vicki Nisbett? And Is She Even Dead?
No verifiable crime scene, no murder weapon, no motive, and no body
By Chase Hoffberger, Fri., Jan. 27, 2017
An investigator inspects the bedroom door for DNA.
As of this Thursday, Jan. 26, the State Prosecuting Attorney, the office which represents the state in the Court of Criminal Appeals, has 21 days to appeal the recent ruling in the 3rd Court of Appeals that the murder conviction on Rex Nisbett be overturned, and that Nisbett be acquitted of the murder of his estranged wife, for which he was sentenced to 42 years in prison. Anything but a successful appeal to the CCA would affirm the 3rd Court's judgment, ordered Dec. 15, 2016, and reopen as a cold case the 25-year mystery of what happened to Vicki Nisbett, whom nobody has seen or spoken to since Dec. 14, 1991.
Nisbett's case was tried in Williamson County, and was to serve as a touchstone conviction for the district attorney at the time, Jana Duty. It was one of the first major cases brought to the grand jury under Duty's administration; she had run in the 2012 primary against prosecutor John Bradley as a change candidate who could close cold cases and carry out justice. Bradley, WilCo's D.A. for a decade, saw his reputation crumble when news broke that he vigorously fought against the DNA retesting that eventually exonerated Michael Morton of his wife Christine's murder in 1986. Duty planted campaign signs with red bandannas – a bloodstained allusion to the blue bandanna in evidence that freed Morton – and urged voters to support a candidate who believed in "No More Michael Mortons." As D.A., Duty established the county's Cold Case Unit to help close unsolved cases.
Duty took office in January 2013, and by February had reopened investigations into Vicki's disappearance. The county had looked into the case sporadically since the murder, but never had enough evidence to take Rex to a grand jury. Late that March, with the high-profile second Morton trial ongoing (the one that convicted Mark Alan Norwood), Duty announced she'd secured a murder indictment against Rex. "It is important to me to help families who have suffered such a tragic loss," Duty said in a press statement, one of three she'd post online during her term. "I want to help these families find answers and find justice so that they can eventually find peace."
The Nisbett case was an unusual one: a cold case from the early Nineties without any trace of a dead body. Vicki's disappearance yields no verifiable crime scene, no murder weapon, and no motive. Simply, she cannot be accounted for after Dec. 14, 1991, at around 5pm. She planned to attend a company Christmas party at the Driskill Hotel with her friend Julie Coen-Tower, but Coen-Tower said she never made it. The next morning when they spoke again, Rex told Coen-Tower that Vicki never came home.
For more:Austin Chronicle
Posted by Thomas A. (Tad) DiBiase, The No Body Guy