Trial set in Colorado Springs double murder

By Lance Benzel Updated: October 18, 2013 at 8:02 am • Published: October 17, 2013 | 6:45 pm

One day after a pregnant woman and her boyfriend were gunned down in east Colorado Springs, the man police say killed them boarded a bus for El Paso, Texas and crossed into Mexico as a passenger in his sister's car, authorities allege.

Gary Glen Vigil, 22, still is being sought in the Aug. 10 slayings of 22-year-old Daniel Castaneda and 24-year-old Camille Root.

But the woman accused of driving him to safety, Regina Vigil of El Paso, Texas, is sitting behind bars at the El Paso County jail in Colorado Springs, charged with two counts of accessory to murder. A married mother of two who lives in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Vigil was ordered held for trial Thursday after a brief preliminary hearing in 4th Judicial District Court.

"She put her kids at risk, she put her husband at risk, just to help her brother escape the authorities," lead prosecutor Jeff Lindsey told the court.

Vigil, who was quietly arrested in late August while trying to cross the border back into the U.S., was ordered held on $100,000 bond and is expected to be arraigned Oct. 31 before 4th Judicial District Judge Scott Sells.

Clad in an orange jail jumpsuit, Regina Vigil sat silent through the hourlong hearing, which was packed with her supporters and relatives of the victims, sitting on opposite sides of the courtroom.

Castaneda and Root, who was said to be several months pregnant, were found shot to death in an alley in the 2800 block of East Platte Avenue. The pair were attacked upon leaving Nancy's Lion's Den, where a server recognized Gary Vigil as a repeat customer.

Few details have been released about the shooting, but prosecutor Lindsey said at a previous hearing they were shot "execution style."

The suspect is an ex-boyfriend of the slain woman, authorities said.

According to testimony at Thursday's hearing, witnesses quickly helped police identify Gary Vigil as a suspect - one picking his photo from a line-up.

But after police issued an arrest warrant, the trail went cold - until a CrimeStoppers tip directed investigators to look for a sister in El Paso, Texas, for clues on Vigil's whereabouts, according to Derek Graham, who testified Thursday.

Police contacted the FBI's El Paso office for assistance, and two agents went on the hunt for Regina Vigil and discovered that although she was a U.S. citizen and worked in El Paso, she lived with her husband and two children in Juarez.

Vigil was arrested Aug. 23 upon attempting to cross back into the U.S., authorities said. Under interrogation by the FBI, she said she picked up her brother at a bus stop on Aug. 11, drove him into Juarez, and let him off at a street corner where he climbed into a black sport-utility vehicle - the last she saw of him, she claimed.

The woman claimed a sister called her a day earlier and told her their brother was in unspecified "trouble" and would be arriving on a bus.

Regina Vigil later acknowledged, however, that she sought out a television news report and knew her brother was a murder suspect when she drove him into Mexico, according to an FBI agent who testified at the hearing.

In ordering Regina Vigil to trial, Judge Sells rejected a jurisdictional challenge by public defender Pat Behan, who argued that because the alleged crime did not occur in Colorado, authorities here have no authority to prosecute.

The judge also rejected a request to lower Vigil's bond, which Behan said was excessive for the level of charges against her client.

Accessory to murder is a felony that normally carries a prison sentence ranging from two to six years.

Police did not provide an update about the search for Gary Vigil.

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