|Vincent "Don Vito" Margera|
July 3, 1956 |
Concordville, Pennsylvania, USA
Vincent Roy Margera (born July 3, 1956), more commonly known as Don Vito, is a convicted American sex offender and former reality television personality known for his appearances in Viva La Bam, Jackass, Haggard and the CKY videos alongside his nephew Bam. He was sentenced to 10 years' intensive supervised probation, for two felony convictions of sexual assault on a minor, on December 20, 2007.
Life and career
Margera was born in Concordville, Pennsylvania. He appears in television with his family, which includes his younger brother Phil, sister-in-law April and nephews Jess and Bam. Unlike his brother Phil, who is depicted as kind, easygoing and quiet, Vito is considered to be loud and obnoxious. He is unmarried and lives in a home formerly owned by his brother in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
Starting in 2003 he appeared in the television series Viva La Bam where he was commonly referred to as "Don Vito," a nickname given to him by nephew Bam. The nickname referred to his near unintelligible speech reminiscent of Don Vito Corleone, of The Godfather, as well as saluting the Margera family's Italian heritage. In addition, Margera is obese, and is often difficult to understand while speaking (especially when frustrated or angry), forcing subtitles to be used for some of what he says in Viva La Bam. Even then, much of his dialogue is either gibberish or unintelligible. He has partial sight in one eye. He later appeared in Haggard: The Movie, a spin-off movie, which included many Viva La Bam cast members and appears in its sequel, Minghags.
As a result of his 2006 arrest, the stunts involving Don Vito were removed from the theatrical and DVD release of Jackass Number Two, but several stunts were briefly shown in previews leading up to his arrest. Due to the allegations, he was persona non grata among the cast for a time, and he also did not appear on Bam's new show, Unholy Union because of his arrest. However, he was in attendance at Bam's wedding.
In early 2007, Don Vito featured in Redman's music video "Put It Down", where he plays a police officer with Donnell Rawlings. March 20, 2007 saw the release of Vito and Ryan Dunn starring in a Viva La Bam-like, direct-to-DVD film, entitled Dunn and Vito's Rock Tour.
Arrest, trial, and conviction
On August 18, 2006, Margera was arrested at the Colorado Mills Mall in Lakewood, Colorado for groping two 12-year-old girls at an autograph signing and was subsequently held with bail set at $50,000. He posted bond around 10:00 p.m. the following Monday. As a condition of his bond, Margera was ordered not to possess any alcohol, drugs, or weapons, and is not permitted to contact the victims.
During a preliminary hearing on February 1, 2007, the arresting officer, Melissa Mayne, testified that Margera called her and a fellow officer "psycho bitches" during his arrest. He was represented by Pamela Mackey, the same lawyer who defended Kobe Bryant. There was an arraignment hearing on March 5, 2007 at which he pleaded not guilty. A motions hearing occurred on May 25, 2007 and a five-day jury trial was scheduled to begin on August 27, 2007. In August, Margera was accused of 12 felony counts for violating his bail conditions and if convicted on those counts he could receive up to 18 months in prison.
The criminal trial started October 22 in Golden, Colorado. In court on October 24, Margera's attorney argued he was playing his "goofy, outrageous and vulgar" television persona for the young teens. The girl accusing Margera was "shocked" by his actions, according to witnesses. The prosecutor said Margera was "out of control during this public event. He was so intoxicated that he peed his pants while with these children." On the second day of testimony, a teenage boy testified that "he was sitting near the table where Margera was giving autographs and saw him grab at girls who came around the table for photos". On Friday October 27, the third day of the trial, defense attorneys portrayed Margera as a "benign bumbler" and argued that Margera's signature arm movement may have been mistaken for breast fondling. His sister-in-law April Margera told the court "she has never seen Margera fondle anyone, on or off the show." On cross-examination, the prosecutor asked April if she saw her brother-in-law fondle girls; when she said "no", the prosecutor "showed her three pictures, one of Margera apparently trying to kiss a woman's breast and two of him apparently trying to fondle women's breasts."
The defense and prosecution made their closing statements on October 31 and the jury started to deliberate the case in late afternoon. Defense attorneys "concede he was profane and outrageous but contend he was just playing the role of Don Vito." On October 31 he was found guilty of two counts of sexual assault on a minor and acquitted on one count. After hearing the conviction, Margera collapsed on the floor and yelled, "Just kill me now!" as guards restrained, then removed him from the room. On November 1, 2007, he was put on suicide watch. He was held at the Jefferson County Detention Facility until his sentencing on December 20, 2007. He faced between two years to life in prison.
On December 20, 2007, Margera was sentenced to 10 years of "serious" probation, which he will be required to serve in Pennsylvania. He was further ordered to not portray the character of "Don Vito" in any capacity (appearing on television, writing books, autograph signings) while serving his sentence. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender in Colorado and Pennsylvania, to receive an evaluation of his mental health, and to work on his problems with alcohol.
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