ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Convicted of murder in the 2019 killing of an Albuquerque woman, Luis Talamantes-Romero will serve the rest of his life in prison. Talamantes was found guilty by a jury in April in one of Albuquerque’s most high-profile criminal cases.

Judge Britt Baca-Miller gave Talamantes a sentence of life in prison plus 26 years for the case during a sentencing hearing Wednesday. The sentence brings closure to the more than three-year old murder case that resonated in Albuquerque over the random nature of the killing.

Jacque Vigil was killed on November 19, 2019 while sitting in the front seat of her car. Prosecutors say Vigil was backing out of the driveway of her northwest Albuquerque home when she was shot in the head by Talamantes, who was looking to rob Vigil.

In court Wednesday, Jacqueline Vigil’s son, Kevin Dieguez, addressed Talamantes directly. As Talamantes looked down during much of the sentencing, Dieguez commanded Talamantes’ attention, saying “Look at me when I’m talking to you.”

“You caused me a lot of pain. You could have just asked her for her car and she would have given it to you,” Dieguez said. “That’s the kind of person she was. My kids will never get to spend time with their grandmother. That’s what hurts me the most,”

A New Mexico State Police officer, Dieguez told Talamantes he hopes he rots in prison for the rest of his life. Dieguez warned Talamantes, saying in Spanish, “I’ll be waiting” if Talamantes ever does get out.

Jacqueline Vigil, 55, was killed in November 2019. The man convicted in her killing, Luis Talamantes-Romero, is expected to be sentenced in her murder Wednesday, May 30, 2023 | Image Courtesy: Vigil Family

Jurors convicted Talamantes on eight charges in the case in April following eight days of proceedings. Those included first degree murder, two counts of aggravated burglary with a deadly weapon, conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary, attempted to commit armed robbery, tampering with evidence, conspiracy to commit tampering with evidence and larceny.

Other family members of Jacque Vigil spoke through tears Wednesday saying Vigil has made plans to become a part-time caretaker for her granddaughter and was about to receive a degree in education. Prosecutors called Vigil “a truly innocent victim.”

Talamantes refused to make a statement on his own behalf to the court Wednesday. His attorney Kathleen Rhinehart said Talamantes still maintains his innocence in the case.

After sentencing, Vigil’s widower Sam Vigil said he does feel like justice has been served. He said what he’ll miss most is the quality time he spent with his wife.

“She would hang around with me, anything I was doing if I was going to the hardware store, to Home Depot she would want to go along she wanted to be there with me all the time,” Vigil said. “I miss that a lot.”

Talamantes is awaiting sentencing in a federal case for a charge of entering the United States illegally. According to federal court documents, Talamantes had been deported from the U.S. on three prior occasions before Vigil’s murder. Judge Baca-Miller stated Wednesday that Talamantes will serve his sentence on federal immigration charges before being remanded into state custody for his sentence in the Vigil case.

The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office oversaw Talamantes’ murder case, which was tried by Deputy District Attorneys John Duran and Greer Staley. Kathleen Rhinehart represented Talamantes as a defense attorney. Judge Britt Baca-Miller oversaw the proceedings.