Inmates sentenced in fatal San Miguel County jail beating

Oct. 10—Seven men accused of beating a man to death in the San Miguel County jail in 2021 have taken plea deals, with six sentenced to prison terms ranging from seven and a half years to 18 years, according to prosecutors.

One of the defendants is still awaiting sentencing.

The men were inmates in the Las Vegas, N.M. facility, when the group confronted Eric Vigil, 40, in a jail cell on Nov. 1, 2021 and beat him to the point of unconsciousness, according to the Fourth Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

Vigil subsequently died at the hospital, according to a statement issued by District Attorney Thomas Clayton.

Surveillance video helped identify the defendants and their roles in the attack, the statement said.

Vigil was jumped by his attackers in a 62-second incident, with some men standing watching from the perimeter of the cell, according to a criminal complaint.

Vigil had been acquitted in 2013 for his suspected role in the 2007 shooting deaths of two New Mexico Highlands University students and was in the jail in connection with bench warrants for failure to appear in ongoing cases and for possession of a firearm by a felon, according to reports from the time.

Daniel Magallanes — who was said to have thrown the first punch and initially was charged with first-degree murder in connection with Vigil’s death — pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and conspiracy in February and was sentenced in June to 18 years in prison, court records show.

Conrad Atencio, 27, Dathian Lucero, 26, and Devin Morales, 23, also pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and conspiracy in the case and were sentenced to serve 18-year prison terms, according to the District Attorney’s statement.

Nathan Pacheco, 27, also pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and conspiracy. He was sentenced to a 17-year prison term, according to the statement.

Joaquin Richardson, 21, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and conspiracy, and was sentenced last week to seven and a half years in prison.

Pierre Lovato, 46, pleaded no contest earlier this month to second-degree murder and conspiracy and is scheduled to be sentenced in November as part of an agreement which calls for him to serve between 12 and 17 years in prison, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Pacheco told police in an interview Vigil was a “bully” inside the pod and had tried to start fights with many people, according to a criminal complaint. Pacheco said it was a “relief” that he came out alive and compared the incident to David and Goliath, the complaint said.

Another inmate not charged in the incident said he watched while Magallanes, 24, hit Vigil before “everyone” joined.

Investigators found several teeth and large amounts of blood in the cell, the complaint said.

Inmates also were seen on video exiting the cell, showering or washing their hands and later dumping shoes and other bloody clothes into trash cans in the jail, the complaint said.

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