Husband of Jacqueline Vigil takes the stand in murder trial

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Testimony has wrapped up for the day in the murder trial for Luis Talamantes-Romero, who is charged with gunning down Jacqueline Vigil in her driveway. Vigil was the mother of two New Mexico State Police officers.

She was caught in a “wrong place, wrong time” situation. Each side laid out their case during opening statements Tuesday morning.

The prosecution’s opening statement started with Sam Vigil’s initial 911 call when he found his wife shot in their driveway.

Assistant Attorney General John Duran talked about Talamantes-Romero’s crime spree and erratic driving. Duran said Talamantes-Romero and his co-conspirator, Isaac Ramirez, drove to an apartment where they stole the rim off a similar-looking Jeep. Then, they turned onto Vigil’s cul-de-sac where he saw an opportunity to keep stealing.

“He did so with the intention to commit harm, he likely saw an opportunity,” Duran said. “It was dark and he murdered Jacque in cold blood.”

After that, Duran said the two took the Jeep to a dirt lot where Talamantes-Romero’s sister lived. The prosecutor said a shell casing was found near the Jeep and inside Vigil’s garage.

The defense followed. In her opening statement, Kathleen Rhinehart said investigators became laser-focused on Talamantes-Romero, and other evidence pointing to other people involved was ignored.

“There are a number of other people who were investigated and interviewed about this crime and the killing of Jacque Vigil, who admitted to doing it, and were released,” Rhinehart said.

The defense also said that APD never followed through on multiple investigations.

Sam Vigil took the stand Tuesday as one of the state’s first witnesses. He started out his testimony by describing his wife and their life together. He said Jacque liked to be healthy, eat right, and it wasn’t out of the norm for them to get up at 4:30 a.m. or 5 a.m.

On that morning in November 2019, he said Jacque got ready for the gym and had just walked out the door. He was making his morning coffee and waiting for the paper when he heard a honk from her car.

Sam said he walked out a noticed a bullet hole on the driver’s side and his wife leaning over the wheel.

“I was saying, ‘Help me, help me, please help me, call an ambulance,'” Sam said about the 911 call. “It was awful, I don’t wish that kind of event on anybody. That is the most horrific thing to happen to a person.”

Talamantes-Romero’s co-conspirator, Isaac Ramirez, took the stand after. He testified he was with Talamantes-Romero since around 8 p.m. the night before. He said he went to the Vigil house early that morning after they got a gun from an apartment in Albuquerque.

“I didn’t want to rob a woman,” Ramirez said. “He looked at me, loaded the gun, put a bullet in the chamber, and told me, ‘Don’t tell me what to do.'”

During the cross-examination, the defense brought up Ramirez’s plea deal and the lesser sentence he got for testifying.