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Woman sentenced in plot to kill judge, cop

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By David Giuliani

A woman involved in a plot to kill a judge and a narcotics officer has been sentenced to serve six years in state prison, officials said Wednesday.

District Judge John Paternoster handed Nora Vigil a nine-year prison sentence, but suspended three of the years.

Authorities have said both Vigil and Mike Santillanes worked together in a plan to kill District Judge Eugenio Mathis and Mack Allingham, an agent with the Region 4 Narcotics Task Force.

On Oct. 13, 2005, Santillanes was charged with trafficking crack cocaine. Allingham was the lead agent in the case.

Mathis was the judge in one of Santillanes’ previous drug convictions and for Santillanes’ brother, Henry, who was convicted of second-degree murder, officials said.

“I feel the same way Judge Paternoster did about this case; it wasn’t so much a crime against me as it was a crime against the institution of the judiciary,” Mathis said. “I was satisfied with the sentence; I had no qualms with it.”

Last year, Vigil pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit murder. She was accused of working with Santillanes by buying the weapon and delivering it.

Santillanes, who also pleaded guilty, was sentenced in July to 20 years in prison — 18 years for the two counts of conspiracy to commit murder and one count for drug trafficking.

The conspiracy unraveled when Santillanes told cellmate Allen Lester that he wanted to kill Mathis. Santillanes arranged for Lester to serve as the hitman, but Lester had already informed a jail official about the plot.

Vigil delivered a gun to Lester, who was serving as a police informant, and the authorities had audio and video recordings of Vigil and Santillanes as they planned the conspiracy. Shortly after, they were arrested.

District Attorney Richard Flores has called Santillanes the “driving force” behind the conspiracy.