'Little Johnnie' to be Tried In 'Big Boy' Court

Jun 28, 2013 1:53 PM

He goes by the name of "Little Johnnie."

But prosecutors say this 16-year-old gang member from Chico has crossed the line of violence so far that he will now be tried as an adult for a March 30 attack that nearly killed a 24-year-old man.

John Vigil, or “Little Johnnie,” as he is known in his circle of gangsters, is expected to be arraigned today in Butte County Superior Court after the court on felony assault charges. A juvenile court judge earlier this week deemed at the Vigil's crime so violent that an adult court would be the best setting for this case.

District Attorney Mike Ramsey said the entire assault was caught on surveillance cameras at a housing complex on Sunset Court in Chico. Ramsey said the video footage clearly shows Vigil assault a 24-year-old victim. Vigil first hit the victim on the head with a glass bottle, stunning the victim. Vigil then threw that same bottle at the victim head, striking the victim. Later, the footage shows the victim backing away from the defendant. Vigil then made several upward thrusts into the victim’s body. Ramsey said Vigil viciously stabbed and slashed the victim nine times leaving the victim in a pool of blood. Vigil was arrested by Chico Police the next day and has remained in custody in the Butte County Juvenile Hall.

The victim suffered several life threatening wounds, including a punctured lung and damaged small intestine. He underwent emergency surgery at Enloe Hospital and remained hospitalized for several days.

Ramsey said Vigil is a known gang member, but the motive for the stabbing is unclear.

If convicted the defendant faces up to 16 years in state prison. Due to the defendant’s age, a portion of that sentence could be served in the California Division of Juvenile Justice, formerly known as the California Youth Authority.


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