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Brothers arrested in couple's 2007 deaths

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By Lee Einer

Two brothers have been arrested for the 2007 murder of a Las Vegas couple.

Michael Vigal, 21, and JoeBary Vigal, 18, were taken into custody Monday night for the killing of Stephanie Dimas and Damian Lucero-Ortiz. The brothers were charged with homicide, aggravated burglary, armed robbery, tampering with evidence, conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary and conspiracy to tamper with evidence.

Dimas, 25, and Lucero-Ortiz, 24, were found around 3 p.m. on Dec. 20, 2007, shot to death in their mobile home on Dora Celeste. Gunshots had been reported to the Las Vegas Police Department around 2 a.m. that morning.

Dimas and Lucero-Ortiz were both studying at Highlands University to be elementary education teachers. Dimas was working on her master’s degree in special education and elementary education. Lucero-Ortiz was set to graduate in May, 2008. The couple enjoyed custom cars and motorcycles, and are credited with starting a local car club called “Obsession.”

Lt. Eric Garcia of the New Mexico State Police confirmed the Vigal arrests, sayinng police were led to the brothers through tips and interviews, which finally linked the brothers directly to the murders. He also said that based on interviews with the Vigals and other witnesses, more arrests are expected by this weekend.

Garcia said that the murders were motivated by money and marijuana.

“The intention of the Vigal brothers,” Garcia said,  “was to go to the residence and rob Dimas and Ortiz of their drugs and money.”

At age 21, Michael Vigal already has a considerable criminal record.

On Dec. 6, 2007, two weeks before the murders, Vigal was charged with two counts of battery against a household member and two counts of criminal property damage. He was sentenced in February 2008 to 54 days in jail and unsupervised probation. He was charged with aggravated burglary, two counts of conspiracy to commit a crime, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor on Dec. 17, 2007, only three days from the date of the murders, but charges were dismissed by the District Attorney’s office on June 16, 2009, pending further investigation.

On Dec. 16, 2008, Vigal was charged with two counts of automotive burglary, and was later convicted.