Man who killed ‘rival gang’ inmate sentenced to life in prison, avoids death penalty

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DRAPER, Utah (ABC4 News) – A Utah man who killed another inmate will spend the rest of his life in prison and escaped the death penalty by accepting a plea deal.

Ramon Luis Rivera, 34, was sentenced on Thursday after pleading guilty to one count aggravated murder in the stabbing death of 24-year-old Jeffrey Vigil, a rival gang member.

The stabbing occurred on March 14, 2016, in the common area of the prison. According to documents, Rivera stomped and kicked vigil’s head over 70 times that was also captured on surveillance video.

In a lawsuit against the Department of Corrections, Vigil’s wife said her husband had just been moved from maximum security into the Oquirrh unit when he was ambushed by Rivera.

The Guards were aware of should have been aware of Jeffrey’s classification and that the move to the Oquirrh One pod was not safe and failed to follow up on expressed concerns by many individuals about the move.

The Guards were aware or should have been aware that when the prison is short-staffed, the
policy for inmates is to be in “lockdown” for security reasons and failed to follow the procedure.
The Guards were aware or should have been aware of the altercation that was taking place and
did not take immediate steps to stop the altercation. Their deliberate indifference to Jeffrey’s
dire circumstances and medical needs caused his death.

Vigil’s wife settled with the Department of Corrections and the lawsuit was dismissed.

Recently ABC4 did a mini-series related to this same issue at the prison: Schedule change at Utah state prisons resulted in ‘dog fights,’ according to inmate’s family.

Families of inmates gathered at the Utah Department of Corrections to protest removal of A/B schedule.

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