'Don Vito found guilty of sex assault on a child

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By AJ Vicens

Vincent Margera — widely known as Uncle Don Vito from MTV’s “Viva La Bam” — fell to the ground and screamed profanities in a Jeffco courtroom after he was found guilty last Wednesday of two counts of sexual assault on a child.

The jury deliberated for about six hours before finding Margera, 51, guilty on the two counts, which stemmed from an Aug. 18, 2006, autograph-signing at a skate park at Colorado Mills Mall. Margera was accused of touching or grabbing the buttocks of a 12-year-old girl and touching the breasts of two other girls, ages 12 and 14.

The jury found Margera guilty of sexual assault of one 12-year-old and one 14-year-old. He was found not guilty of a third count of unlawful sexual contact with a child.

Each conviction carries a possible sentence of two years to six years to life, but he could also get a minimum of 10 years’ probation with up to lifetime supervision. Margera will have to register as a sex offender. He will be held in the Jefferson County Jail until his sentencing on Dec. 20.

Margera remains in the Jefferson County jail and reportedly was on suicide watch.

Last week, Margera was standing at the defense table with attorneys Pamela Mackey and Saskia Jordan when the verdict of not guilty was read on the first count, according to Pam Russell, district attorney’s spokeswoman. When the first guilty verdict was read, Margera fell to the floor and shouted, “I can’t go to prison for the rest of my (expletive) life!”

Several Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies rushed into the courtroom to try to calm him down as District Judge M.L. Menendez continued reading the verdict. Russell said Margera’s brother Phil was also trying to calm him down.

Russell said Margera was complaining of some sort of medical problems and eventually had to be carried out of the courtroom by a half dozen deputies.

“I really respect the courage of the girls to testify with all the pressure,” said District Attorney Scott Storey. “It’s very difficult, particularly for teenage girls. I really respect them for that.”

Storey said sentencing would depend on how amenable Margera is to treatment, “so we can assure that the community is safe.”

“He may a community risk and will be treated as such,” Storey said.

Deputy District Attorney Natalie Judson argued during closing arguments Tuesday that Margera was guilty of sexual assault and assailed claims that Margera was merely portraying his “Don Vito” character during the assaults.

“This is not a TV show,” Judson said. “This is real life.”

She referenced Mackey’s opening statement — when Mackey said that entertainment is in the eye of the beholder — and asked, “Who cares? The law is the law is the law.”

“There’s only one reason a 50-year-old man touches the butt of a 12-year-old girl, and it’s not because it’s funny,” Judson said.

Jordan continued the defense’s theme that Margera was playing a character and never sexually assaulted anyone, and that if he did touch the girls in some inappropriate way, it was by accident. She also argued that sexual assaults usually happen in private.

“(Sexual assault) is a heinous crime, usually committed in secret with threats to the children not to tell,” Jordan said, adding that the alleged assaults occurred in public, in front of a lot of other kids “and adults (who supposedly) stood by and let it happen.”

Mackey, who gained national fame when she defended NBA star Kobe Bryant on sexual assault charges in 2003 stemming from an incident with a hotel worker near Edwards, declined to comment after Wednesday’s verdict was delivered.

Contact A.J. Vicens at: aj@evergreenco.com.