Yelling "just kill me now" and falling over onto the ground, Vincent "Don Vito" Margera could not contain himself on Wednesday (October 31) when a jury delivered a split verdict of guilty on two counts of sexual assault on a child. The 51-year-old uncle of "Viva La Bam" star Bam Margera, who was acquitted of a third count, received the news after the jury in the case had deliberated for less than a day.
Margera had been accused of groping three young girls — one 14-year-old and two 12-year-olds — at an autograph signing at a Colorado mall in August 2006 during which they lined up to have their photos taken with the former car painter. Three teen witnesses testified last week, saying they had seen Margera touching the girls inappropriately, but the defense maintained that Margera had been in character at the event. On Friday, April Margera — Bam's mother — testified for the defense, portraying her brother-in-law as a harmless, bumbling man.
During the two-week trial, his attorney had argued that Margera's vulgar, obnoxious actions were part of his outrageous "Don Vito" persona. Prosecutor Jim Stanley countered that argument, according to the Rocky Mountain News, saying, "this man was out of control during this public event. He was so intoxicated that he peed his pants while with these children."
While Margera was acquitted on a third count of sexual assault on a child, the two felony convictions, each class-four felonies, could land Margera anywhere from two to six years and up to life in prison when he is sentenced in December, according to a press release on the conviction from the Jefferson County District Attorney's office. He could also receive probation for a minimum of 10 years and up to life on each charge.
District Attorney Scott Storey said, "These young victims did a great job in court. This is always difficult for children victims. I really admire their courage. As for the one not-guilty verdict, the jury apparently didn't believe we'd met our burden in proving the count beyond a reasonable doubt."
Margera was taken into custody by the Jefferson County Sheriff after the verdict was read and will be held without bond until sentencing on December 20. According to Pam Russell, a spokeswoman for the DA's office, when the verdict was read, in addition to falling to the floor and yelling expletives, Margera had to be restrained and calmed by several sheriff's deputies.
Russell said Margera and his two female attorneys were standing at the defense table when the verdicts were read, and as soon as the first guilty count came down, Margera "fell or threw himself backwards and hit the ground, making a loud noise, causing some furniture to fly." Because there was the possibility that Margera might be convicted and remanded immediately into custody, there were a number of sheriff's deputies on hand, and four of them immediately rushed over to check on Margera. As they approached, Russell said Margera yelled out, "you might as well kill me now," as well as, "I can't f---ing spend the rest of my life in jail," "you cops lied" and "you can rot in f---ing hell!"
Margera continued to struggle and flail on the ground as the judge, now standing, read the second guilty count, and deputies worked to get Margera's hands behind his back to cuff him and calm him down. At one point, Russell said, there was a concern that Margera might be having trouble breathing, so more deputies were dispatched to help, as well as a paramedic with a defibrillator and a wheelchair. Soon, almost a dozen police officers were surrounding Margera as the judge polled the jurors and attempted to quickly get them out of the courtroom because she could see they were shocked by Margera's actions, according to Russell. Eventually, the deputies were able to cuff Margera, and when they could not get a clear answer from him about whether he would sit in the wheelchair, they struggled to lift him and remove him from the courtroom.
[This story was originally published at 2:25 p.m. ET on 10.31.2007]