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DRAPER — Two men were charged Wednesday in the stabbing death of a fellow inmate in the Utah State Prison last month.
Ramon Luis Rivera, 30, is charged in 3rd District Court with aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, and two counts of possession of items prohibited in correctional facilities, a second-degree felony, in the March 15 death of 24-year-old Jeffrey Ray Vigil.
Albert Collin Fernandez, 38, is charged with murder, a first-degree felony, and obstructing justice, a second-degree felony, for his alleged role in Vigil's death.
The Utah Department of Corrections said last month that Vigil was attacked in a common area of the Oquirrh 1 housing unit on the evening of March 14. He died the following morning at a local hospital.
Charging documents say Rivera stabbed Vigil "several times," put him in a chokehold until he lost consciousness, and then stomped on or kicked his head more than 70 times. Fernandez also allegedly punched and kicked Vigil in the head multiple times.
Fernandez also tried to block Vigil from fleeing Rivera while the stabbing occurred, charges say.
An autopsy revealed Vigil died from "blunt force trauma and sharp force trauma," according to court documents.
Rivera allegedly told investigators the attack was gang-motivated. He told investigators "he was the only one who assaulted Mr. Vigil," charges state.
Charges allege that the attack on Vigil is confirmed by surveillance video. Fernandez and Rivera belong to the same gang, and Vigil belonged to a rival gang, the charges state.
Rivera allegedly used two knives to attack Vigil, resorting to the second one after the blade broke off the first.
Rivera's criminal history includes a conviction for attempted aggravated murder in an August 2009 shooting in Clearfield, according to court records. He also pleaded guilty in August 2015 to attempting to make a threat against a member of the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole.
Rivera, most recently listed as a transient in court records, has previously been convicted of assault by a prisoner, felony drug possession, burglary, theft, attempted theft and attempted absconding.
Fernandez has a substantial criminal history in Utah that includes guilty pleas to assault by a prisoner, kidnapping and robbery, court records show.
Fernandez, most recently from Clinton, has also been convicted of assault, theft, felony drug possession, attempted tampering with a witness or juror, attempted riot, attempted possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, and failing to stop at the command of a police officer, among other crimes.
Vigil, of Ogden, had been in prison since June 2015 for a parole violation. His prior criminal convictions were for failing to stop at the command of a police officer, theft by receiving stolen property and drug possession, among other offenses.
Vigil was also facing an ongoing case at the time of his death for charges of felony discharge of a firearm, possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, failing to stop at the command of a police officer and possession of drug paraphernalia.
No initial court date is currently scheduled in the murder case against Rivera and Fernandez, who remain in the Utah State Prison. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @benlockhartnews