Family Outraged After Guilty Plea - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Family Outraged After Guilty Plea

Tami's father, Dennis, says Vigil "wouldn't leave her alone. He got out of the [penitentiary] wanting her to come back to him. Begging her and begging her." Tami's father, Dennis, says Vigil "wouldn't leave her alone. He got out of the [penitentiary] wanting her to come back to him. Begging her and begging her."

By Megan Moore
NewsChannel 10

AMARILLO, TEXAS - After almost three years of silence, an Amarillo family is speaking out after learning their daughter's killer received a plea bargain Wednesday.

27 year old Carlos Vigil pleaded guilty Wednesday to first degree murder.

He killed 23 year old Tamara Bell, "Tami" to her family and friends, just after Christmas in 2007.

The two had dated in high school.

Tami's father, Dennis, says Vigil "wouldn't leave her alone. He got out of the [penitentiary] wanting her to come back to him. Begging her and begging her."

Tami met vigil at his home the night of her death to tell him to leave her alone.

He shot her in the head.

Dennis says, "they said it was a suicide. Because he (Vigil) said it was.

Investigators eventually figured out Tami did not kill herself, but Dennis says the investigation was shoddy from then on.

He explains, "from the day it happened til today when he pleaded out. He never got one more minute of time for murder than he did for molesting those girls."

He is talking about Vigil's sentence he got last week for the sexual assault of two women: 38 years in jail, including the three he has already served.

His murder sentence of 35 years will be served concurrently.

The Bell family wanted to go to trial since day one to see if Vigil would get a heavier sentence, but they say the Potter County district attorney's office made the decision for them.

Dennis says, "they didn't give us a choice. They said the whole time we could then said 'you don't have any choice. We do what we want to do.'"

District Attorney Randall Sims told us today when he spoke with the Bells, they understood the plea but were not pleased.  He adds Dennis Bell was never in meetings discussing a trial and/or plea.

Ultimately, it was up to the D.A.'s office to make that call.  Sims says this is the first time he can remember that a guilty plea was entered against the victim's family's wishes.

So now, all the Bells have are memories.

Dennis says, "she loved everybody. Seen the good in everyone. Very smart and she had three beautiful children."

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