Lawsuit filed by widow of Ogden man killed in prison settled out of court

Sunday , June 10, 2018 - 5:00 AM

SALT LAKE CITY — A lawsuit filed by the widow of an Ogden man killed while incarcerated at the Utah State Prison has been settled out of court. 

The lawsuit, filed on Sept. 19, 2016, claimed that guards at the prison ignored warnings from Jeffrey Ray Vigil, 24, that he was in danger from members of a rival gang. 

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The lawsuit claimed that Warden Scott Crowther and guards were alerted repeatedly that Vigil, a member of the Ogden Trece gang, would be targeted by members of the rival Crips gang when he was transferred to Oquirrh One’s pod 2 on March 14, 2016.

Vigil had been in maximum security since arriving at the prison on June 2, 2015, after his arrest in Ogden on a parole violation, the suit said. He was moved to the lower-security cell building March 14 “possibly as a reward for good behavior,” it said. Pod 2 was dominated by members of the Crips, according to the suit.

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Hours after he was transferred to the unit, Vigil was attacked by Ramon Luis Rivera and Albert Collin Fernandez, the suit says. Rivera stabbed Vigil multiple times, choked him to unconsciousness and kicked him in the head at least 70 times while Fernandez prevented him from escaping, according to court filings.

Vigil died the next day at a Salt Lake City hospital.

Murder charges were filed against Rivera and Fernandez the following month. Rivera is scheduled to have a month-long jury trial in February 2019 for his murder charge. Fernandez’s next court appearance for his murder charge is set for June 22 in Salt Lake City’s 3rd District Court.

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The lawsuit alleges that the pod was understaffed, guards were slow to react to the attack, and summoning of medical help was fumbled. A 911 call was canceled at one point, and Vigil did not arrive at the hospital until 45 minutes after the attack, the suit said.

The lawsuit, filed by Chelsie Vigil’s attorneys, was dismissed Thursday in Utah District Court after both sides settled all claims out of court, according to court filings. The case was dismissed with prejudice, meaning the case is permanently closed. 

Because the claim was settled out of court, the terms of the settlement were not immediately available to the public. 

When the lawsuit was filed, Vigil asked the state for $20 million in damages. 

Contact reporter Jacob Scholl at jscholl@standard.net or follow him on Twitter @Jacob_Scholl.

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