Remembering Rick “Mardi Gras” Madrigal: family speaks out after lengthy murder trial closes

El Paso News

The family of former El Paso radio DJ, Rick Madrigal spoke out for the first time since the sentencing of his killer, Leonel Hernandez last Friday.

Hernandez was found guilty of murdering Madrigal in 2016 and sentenced him to 50 years in prison for the crime. 

Sunday, friends, and family gathered at Madrigal’s gravesite to remember their friend and family member who was lost too soon. “He was a very good friend. One of those you can always depend on if you said ‘I need to talk to you’ he’d say ‘when and where and I’ll be there,'” Joshua Gonzalez said. 

Madrigal, who was known as a local celebrity for his time as a DJ on KLAQ had moved on from the radio life. At the time of his death, he was preparing to graduate from UTEP. 

“Rick had finally, you know, gotten on the right track. He’d gone beyond behind a local celebrity and wanted a better life for his daughter,” friend Alex Austin told us. 

Rick’s best friend Lexi was the one who found Rick’s body the day after the murder. She said she just felt like something was wrong that day. “I’m glad to have been there for him ’til the end, you know? Who knows how long he would’ve been there if I wouldn’t have checked on him,” she said.

The family says Rick’s young daughter is in good care for now, but they hope they can be there for her one day to share memories with her about her father. 

“We’re always around waiting for her. I’ll be there if she ever wants to reach out,” Dominguez said.

After all of the waiting and the long trial, Madrigal’s friends say a 50-year sentence can finally bring them peace.

“After it all was said and done, I just felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders and a wave of peace knowing that Rick got his justice,” Gonzalez said. 

His friends say they’ll always miss Rick, but they hope they can find closure and move on, always honoring his memory. 

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