Lander Man Accused Of Killing Drinking Buddy For Making A Pass At Him

A Lander man accused of hitting a drinking buddy in the head with a metal pipe and killing him, allegedly told police he just tried to “knock him out” after the other man made a pass at him and wouldn’t leave.

Clair McFarland

April 15, 20243 min read

Lander wyoming 7 3 19
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Accused of bludgeoning a man to death with a metal bar Sunday morning while the pair were drinking together, a Lander man could face between 20 years and life in prison.

Michael Ray Vigil, 39, appeared in Lander Circuit Court via virtual link Monday afternoon. Breathing heavily, he said he was not able to process what was going on in court because of his schizophrenia and a need for medication.

Lander Circuit Court Judge Jefferson Coombs re-scheduled Vigil’s initial appearance for Tuesday.

Vigil and another man were drinking together Saturday night in Vigil’s home on Sweetwater Street in Lander, according to an evidentiary affidavit filed Monday.

When Lander Police Department officers arrived the next morning at about 6:46 a.m., Vigil said he had hit the other man with a bar after the man had tried making a sexual pass at him, the affidavit says.

Officers reportedly saw blood on Vigil’s clothing and feet.

‘Acting Weird’

Vigil said he invited the man to his home to drink.

The man “started acting weird,” Vigil reportedly said, adding later that the man had taken off his shorts, revealing his genitalia. The man put his shorts back on and Vigil, who said he feared being sexually attacked, told him to leave, but the man went to lie down in Vigil’s bed instead, the affidavit relates from Vigil’s interview.

Vigil grabbed the metal bar from the kitchen, returned to the bedroom and whacked the man in the head three times, intending to “knock him out,” he allegedly told police. After that he dragged the body to the back patio, found the man’s wallet and burned some items from it on top of his body, the affidavit says.

Officers saw blood in the bedroom, dining room, back patio and in the back yard around a male body, the document says. They also reportedly found a 3-foot-long metal bar in the dining room area, which Vigil identified as the pipe he’d used to “assault” the man.

The affidavit says officers also found a large, somewhat coagulated pool of blood on the cement patio in the back, drag marks from blood, a balled up and bloody sheet, and blood spatter on the mattress.

“It appeared there was an attempt to clean some of the blood, by a pan with what apepared to be a blue cleaning agent poured on one of the large blood stains,” says the affidavit.

Clair McFarland can be reached at

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter