Andy L. Vigil lowered his head and mumbled "guilty" Friday when the judge asked for his pleas to first-degree murder and sexual abuse of a child.
He was subsequently sentenced to serve the rest of his life in the Utah State Prison for beating his mother to death with a wooden baseball bat early on Sept. 2."The court will recommend to the Board of Pardons that the defendant not be subject to parole and that he serve the remainder of his life in the state prison," said 3rd District Judge Homer Wilkinson.
The judge also sentenced Vigil to a concurrent term of 1 to 15 years for sexually abusing a 4-year-old girl before he killed his mother.
Vigil, 20, was originally charged with sexually assaulting his mother, Juanita Madrigal, 40, and raping the 4-year-old girl. The aggravated sexual assault charge was dropped and the rape charge reduced as part of a plea bargain with the Salt Lake County attorney's office.
Prosecutors also agreed not to seekthe death penalty in exchange for his guilty pleas.
According to court documents and police reports, Vigil fondled a 4-year-old girl who his mother was baby-sitting. A 10-year-old in the house was awakened by the girl's crying and heard what sounded like a slap and a male voice saying, "Shut up, or I'll hurt your brother."
A medical examiner who examined the girl discovered evidence of sexual abuse and found that the girl had injuries to her eye and behind her ear consistent with being slapped or struck with an adult's hand, court documents state.
Prosecutors said Vigil then walked into his mother's room carrying a baseball bat. The young witness then heard a sound "like something hitting something." Vigil then ordered his mother to disrobe. She agreed, but reminded him that she was his mother and that there was a 1-month-old baby sleeping on the bed, the documents state.
Vigil later came out of the bedroom carrying the bat and said his mother had been injured and needed help. He returned a few minutes later without the bat. Investigators found a bloodied bat on the roof of a carport, prosecutors said.
Police discovered Madrigal, partially clothed, on her bed with several head wounds. She died about 12 hours later from head injuries that were consistent with being inflicted by a baseball bat, according to the court papers.
Defense attorney Brooke Wells said she felt the plea bargain was "an appropriate disposition to a very difficult and tragic situation."
She said Vigil, too, felt it was best not to fight the charges with a trial. "His demeanor shows extraordinary remorse and I think he's a young man with a broken heart."
Prosecutor Rick MacDougall said justice was served in the agreement because the plea bargain permitted the state to spare the young children the trauma of having to testify in court. Many other witnesses would have been family members, and it would have been difficult for them as well, he said.
The defendant's youth was another mitigating factor that helped convince the state not to seek the death penalty.