Preliminary hearing set for Lander homicide suspect

    All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

    (Lander, WY) – The initial appearance hearing for 39-year-old Michael Ray Vigil, the suspect detained in relation to the reported April 14 homicide in Lander, concluded today, April 16.

    The hearing was overseen by the Honorable Judge Jefferson Coombs, with the State represented by Tim Hancock and Todd Shaker, and Jonathan Gerard and Zack Mahlum acting as Defense.


    The hearing was continued to today’s date, after Vigil proved unready for proceedings when the initial appearance began yesterday afternoon on April 15.

    Judge Coombs commented today that Vigil said he “did not know what was going on” yesterday, and it was recommended that the hearing be continued while Vigil also obtained a public defender.

    Judge Coombs soon questioned whether Vigil was mentally competent to proceed with today’s hearing.

    Although Vigil answered “yes” when asked if he suffered from a mental illness, the Defense agreed that there were “no concerns about competency,” and that he will be receiving his medication as soon as tomorrow.


    A preliminary hearing was ultimately set for April 24, and Vigil’s bond was set at $500,000 after the State declared him to be “a danger to the community.”

    Vigil faces a murder in the second degree charge for events that occurred between the hours of late April 13 and early April 14, which reportedly resulted in the death of a yet-to-be-named victim.

    Court documents filed on April 15 state that LPD officers were called to a Lander residence around 6:46 AM the day prior, for reports of a deceased person.


    Upon arrival, LPD officers made contact with Vigil, who stated that a male subject tried to sexually assault him, and that he proceeded to hit him “with a bar.”

    Officers noted blood on Vigil’s clothing and feet.

    Vigil went on to tell officers he had invited the victim to his house for a drink, when the victim started “acting weird,” which resulted in Vigil hitting him with the bar.


    The affidavit notes Vigil made coffee while telling officers as much, and he asked if he could have some before going to jail.

    Later after being taken into custody and questioned by LPD, Vigil clarified that after he invited the victim to his house, he allegedly took off his shorts and revealed his genitalia, which led Vigil to believe he was “attempting to have sex with him.”

    Vigil stated he then told the victim to leave.

    The victim reportedly “put his clothes back on” but refused to leave, and ended up laying down in Vigil’s bed.

    Vigil then told LPD that he later proceeded to walk into his bedroom and hit the victim over the head “three times” in order to “knock him out,” and afterwards dragged his body to the back patio.

    There he proceeded to burn items from the victim’s wallet on top of his body, and soon dragged him to the lawn behind the property “so he wouldn’t get in trouble.”

    Vigil then told LPD that he “went to bed,” and realized he needed to call 911 after seeing all of the blood when he woke up.

    Earlier while still on scene before being detained, Vigil showed LPD the three foot, black metal bar he used to assault the victim.

    Blood stains were observed “in the bedroom, dining room, back patio,” and ultimately “in the backyard around male body.”

    LPD officers “noticed what appeared to be drag smear marks” leading from the bedroom to the yard, as well as visible attempts to clean the blood.

    The victim was found to have injuries to has head, back and wrist that were “consistent with strikes from a metal pipe.”

    Vigil was then detained and transported to the Lander Police Department for questioning.

    Vigil’s preliminary hearing has been set for April 24.

    A murder in the second degree felony charge holds a maximum sentence of life imprisonment (no less than 20 years).

    County 10 will provide updates on the case as they become available, which can be viewed here.


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