Jail call connected to Jacqueline Vigil’s murder released
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The trial for Luis Talamantes-Romero has wrapped up for the week. He is the man accused of killing Jacqueline Vigil, a wife, mother and grandmother, who was on her usual trip to the gym when she was gunned down in her own driveway.
Two crucial witnesses were called to the stand Friday – the woman who supervised Vigil’s autopsy, and the man who eventually took the reigns on the murder investigation.
Dr. Healther Jarrell with the Office of the Medical Investigator walked the jury through her analysis of Vigil’s body and clothing shortly after she was killed. Jarrell discussed the entry wound on the left side of Vigil’s head, the bullet-sized hole in her gym hat, and fragments of a bullet found at the base of her skull.
She said it was obvious the gunshot is what killed Vigil. The manner of death – homicide.
The defense finished its cross examination of APD Commander Kyle Hartsock afterward. Even though he was aware of the case from the beginning, he told the defense he didn’t take over as lead investigator until the summer of 2020 – several months after Vigil’s murder.
Hartsock said he felt other investigators had hit a dead end, and he could take the case in a new direction. That would eventually lead him to potential witness Isaac Ramirez.
On Friday, the defense asked Hartsock of investigators’ line if questioning for Ramirez was coercive.
“We believed Isaac was in the car that night and witnesses it, and we wanted to gain his statement and cooperation with the investigation,” Hartsock said. “That was it. Ther was no more detailed planning than that. This was a state investigation, and again, I was the quarterback now. I wouldn’t have knowingly allowed anything to jeopardize one of my witnesses or evidence.”
The judge sent the jury home after Hartsock’s testimony Friday.
It didn’t end there though. In preparation for day six of the trial next week, Judge Britt Baca Miller asked the prosecution and defense to stick around for a couple of hours to listen to a series of jail calls the prosecution believes are related to the case.
The call is between MDC inmate Erick Barron, a relative of Talamantes-Romero and Elizabeth Talamantes – Luis’ mother. The prosecution said they believe they’re talking about Vigil’s murder – cleaning the car and getting Luis out of Albuquerque.
Luis joins the second part of the call, clearly distraught.
The prosecution said the call is relevant because of when it was made and who was on it. The call was on the same day Vigil was killed.
The defense argued the phone call didn’t clearly relate to the case, and should not be heard by the jury.
Even though the judge agreed some parts of the call might confuse the jury and should be edited, she said the portion where Luis speaks is important.
“Basically admitting that he was involved in this, and so the second portion, I think,is certainly admissible,” the judge said. “The first portion, I do have some hesitations.”
The judge heard two other jail calls before laying the case to rest for the weekend. There is still one more jail call she did not listen to. The judge will determine which parts of the calls are relevant to bring back up in court next week before the jury.
To listen to the call, click on the video at the top of this story.