A jury this week will be asked to decide whether Vincent Goff was mistaken for a serial rapist who preyed on victims in secluded areas over a period of at least three years or kidnapped a couple last August and forced them at gunpoint to perform sex acts.
Goff is on trial in one of four cases from complaints reported across Harrison County between Feb. 4, 2006, and Aug. 6, 2009. In all four cases, he is accused of being armed and wearing a mask. In one incident, he reportedly was naked.
Goff, 37, is on trial for sexual assaults reported last August, when a man took control of the assailant’s rifle and beat him over the head with it, breaking the weapon and knocking the man unconscious. The incident was reported from woods near South Carr Bridge Road.
Goff is on trial on one count of sexual battery and two counts each of kidnapping and attempted sexual battery.
In opening statements Wednesday, Assistant District Attorney Chris Schmidt said the victims, both in the U.S. Air Force, had met on a dirt road to exchange paperwork regarding the man’s pending deployment.
The couple was in the woman’s car when a bare-chested stranger with a rifle darted in front of the vehicle, Schmidt said. The man wore shorts, a camouflage mask and sunglasses.
Schmidt said Goff forced them out of the car and down an overgrown trail while cursing and threatening to kill them if they didn’t follow his orders. The man was ordered to keep his shirt over his face, said Schmidt, and the woman was ordered to take off her camouflage uniform.
The couple reported their assailant forced them to perform oral sex on each other while he watched, demanded they have sexual intercourse together and tried to have sex with the woman.
The male victim challenged Goff, said Schmidt, and took Goff’s rifle and pounded him in the back of the head with it.
The woman called 911 and stayed on the phone with a dispatcher while her friend found a gold sport-utility vehicle backed into nearby woods. The man described the vehicle and its tag number.
Schmidt said Goff’s sunglasses were broken in the struggle; deputies found part of them in Goff’s SUV and part of them in the woods.
Defense attorney Michael Crosby said Goff, a hunter, has admitted being in the woods but said he lingered when he saw a couple “engaging in sex” in a car.