Closing arguments delivered in case of Jeffery Vigiard


PITTSFIELD — In his closing argument Monday, attorney James Goodhines acknowledged a 20-year-old city woman was brutally raped on March 24, 2012, but said that his client, Jeffery Vigiard, 42, isn't the man responsible.

"Sometimes, bad things happen to good people," Goodhines said. "That bad thing did not happen at the hands of Jeffrey Vigiard."

Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Robert W. Kinzer III said the evidence collected during an "exhaustive" investigation, including DNA evidence collected from the victim's hair, points to Vigiard and Vigiard alone.

Goodhines said Vigiard does not match the description of the assailant, who was described as large and dirty, smelling of old alcohol and snack chips with a "big, hard belly," and who spoke with a Spanish accent.

Perhaps the strangest detail given to authorities by the victim is that her assailant was wearing socks on his hands when she was awoken by him in the early morning.

During the trial, Goodhines told jurors the damning DNA evidence which linked Vigiard to the crime was deposited on one of those socks earlier that morning by Vigiard himself and transferred to the victim's hair when the unidentified rapist grabbed it during the attack.

During his time on the stand, Vigiard said he had met a large, Hispanic male while walking back to a friend's house early that morning.

Vigiard, who described himself as a "hustler," during trial, said he was trying to find a way to procure crack cocaine and, in his desperation, agreed to perform a sex act in front of the stranger in exchange for some.

Vigiard said that after he finished, he cleaned himself with a sock he found in the stranger's car, which was filled with trash and other debris, and tossed the sock back into the car before being dropped off in Pittsfield and returning to a friend's house.

Goodhines suggested to the jury it was that man who donned the socks on his hands in an apparent attempt to prevent leaving fingerprints when he broke into the house where the victim and her child were sleeping.

Kinzer countered that claim by reminding the jury the victim had told investigators her assailant spoke with a fake accent, as if he were trying to disguise his voice.

"Only a person who is concerned about their voice being identified would do that," Kinzer said.

Vigiard knew the permanent resident of the apartment and knew that person was not going to be there that morning, according to court testimony, and had enough knowledge of the layout of the property to have disabled a motion-sensor light at the back of the house before making his way inside.

The victim of the rape was house-sitting for that person while they were out of state, according to court testimony.

Kinzer suggested Vigiard's story about meeting a person who matched the description given by the victim was pieced together by speaking with members of her family the next day who divulged certain aspects of her account, including her description of her attacker.

During a sometimes contentious cross-examination of Vigiard, Kinzer pressed him on inconsistences between a sworn affidavit he gave in April 2014 and his testimony on Friday and Monday, including details of his encounter with the Hispanic stranger.

Goodhines told jurors the investigation into the rape was incomplete and ignored other leads and evidence, including other potential DNA evidence from the victim's body.

Kinzer said other spots of potential DNA evidence only contained lone sperm cells and was of no evidentiary value.

Jurors received the case and began deliberations Monday afternoon.

Vigiard has pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated rape, witness intimidation, burglary, assault and nighttime felony breaking and entering.

Testimony in the trail began in Berkshire Superior Court on Nov. 4 before Judge John Agostini.

If convicted, Vigiard faces up to life in prison.

Jurors continue their deliberations Tuesday.

Contact Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249.


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