PHOENIX, AZ (June 27, 2011) – Judge Daniel G. Martin today sentenced Qadir Al-Amin, a.k.a. Rudolpho Dominguez Osorio (D.O.B. 7/2/1979), to 142 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections for the 2008 murder of Melissa Vigil. She was killed on October 7, 2008, at around 12:45 AM, when the defendant fired an assault rifle at a pickup truck Meslissa was riding in along with her best friend and three other teenagers. Melissa was on fall break from a local high school and she and her friends were returning home from a birthday barbeque.
“While nothing can bring back the young, promising life of Melissa Vigil, this appropriately lengthy prison sentence can at least provide some measure of justice to her family by ensuring that this defendant will spend the rest of his life in prison,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “As long as I am County Attorney, we will never surrender our neighborhood streets to gang members and we will make them pay the stiffest penalty possible for their callous disregard for innocent human life,” he added.
Defendant Al-Amin, a Criminal Street Gang member, was standing with fellow gang members in front of a home they liked to hang out at near 19th Avenue and Southern when the pickup Melissa Vigil was riding in drove by. It was later determined that the driver had missed a turn from Hidalgo onto Vista Grande. When the driver stepped on the brakes to back up and go down Vista Grande to drop off a passenger, the defendant and at least one of his fellow gang members opened fire on the truck, mistakenly believing the vehicle contained rival gang members who were going to do a drive by shooting at them.
A few days after the shooting police received a tip that led them to Al-Amin’s house where the assault rifle that killed Melissa was found in his closet. In April 2011, a jury found Al-Amin guilty of one Class 1 Felony count of 2nd Degree Murder, one class 3 Dangerous Felony count of Promoting a Criminal Street Gang, and four Class 3 Dangerous Felony counts of Aggravated Assault.
Melissa’s mother, Sandra Vigil, displayed photos of her daughter at today’s sentencing hearing and addressed the court, saying: “As you look at some of the photos here they show you who Melissa was and also what she will never get to experience with her little brothers Carlos and Matthew and little sister Hope, her big brother Michael, her children, if she chose to have some, or nieces and nephews and cousins. Melissa’s younger brothers will never have the opportunity to have known Melissa the way we all did. That is something that was stolen from them. Carlos and Matthew were only 2 and 5 years old when Melissa was killed.”
Melissa’s best friend, Stefani Hernandez, who was with her the night of the murder, also spoke and indicated that the memory of what happened that night plays through her head every single day. She told the court that she should not have had to have her best friend Melissa, who was more like her sister to her, die in her arms.