PITTSFIELD — An Adams man has been sentenced to life in prison for the 2012 rape of a woman whose young child was sleeping in a crib a few feet away.
Jeffrey Vigiard, 42, was found guilty in Berkshire Superior Court on Tuesday on multiple charges associated with the attack in a Pittsfield home.
Jurors deliberated for about 7 1/2 hours over the course of two days in the nearly two-week trial, which began Nov. 4.
The victim, who was 20 at the time, was house sitting for the woman who lived in that apartment when she was attacked.
Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Robert W. Kinzer III, who prosecuted the case, said Vigiard knew the family who lived in the apartment and knew the resident was not going to be home the morning of the attack.
Vigiard had contacted the resident about a week before, asking for a ride back from New York when he was to be released from jail on a larceny charge on March 23, 2012, and was told she would be away during that time.
Kinzer said Vigiard had enough knowledge of the apartment and its layout to have disabled a motion-sensor light in the back.
The victim told investigators she was woken in the early morning hours of March 24, 2012, by a man in her room wearing socks on his hands, who raped her while her child slept nearby.
She said her attacker ordered her to not look at him and told investigators he spoke with what sounded like a fake Spanish accent. She described him as large and dirty, smelling of old alcohol and snack chips with a "big, hard belly."
Vigiard was identified as the primary suspect after DNA collected from the victim matched his.
On the stand, Vigiard told jurors the morning of the rape, he met a stranger from whom he hoped to get crack cocaine and agreed to perform a sex act upon himself in order to do so.
Vigiard said he cleaned himself off afterward with a sock he found in the car before leaving and returning to a friend's house in Pittsfield.
His attorney, James Goodhines, said the man donned the soiled sock and transferred Vigiard's DNA to the victim's hair during the rape.
"Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction," Goodhines said in his closing argument Monday.
Kinzer suggested Vigiard crafted his description of the stranger he met from details of the victim's account he gleaned by speaking with members of her family about the attack in the days following.
Goodhines was critical of the investigation into the attack, claiming leads and evidence weren't followed up and Vigiard was singled out as a suspect even though he did not match the description first given by the victim, including their weight, size and other physical characteristics.
He said the victim was never asked to listen to a voice array of suspects to see if any of their voices matched the one she said she heard, nor was she presented with a photo array of potential suspects.
Pittsfield Police Capt. Patrick Barry on Tuesday called the investigation thorough and comprehensive and he made special note of the work of Sgt. Nicholas DeSantis and crime scene investigator William King in bringing the case to a successful conclusion.
The jury found Vigiard guilty of aggravated rape, intimidation of a witness, burglary, assault on an occupant and nighttime breaking and entering with the intent to commit a felony.
Judge John Agostini imposed the life sentence on the rape charge and 35 to 40 years on the remaining charges.
Vigiard will serve his sentence at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction.