Suspected serial rapist tears up in court; case goes to grand jury

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Vincent Gerald Goff appeared emotional as he showed up in the courtroom at the Harrison County Jail Wednesday afternoon. He wiped away tears as he talked with his wife, other family members, and his attorney. About an hour later, Goff signed the papers, waiving his right to a preliminary hearing.

"We don't have anything to gain by having any kind of an evidentiary hearing," said Goff's attorney Eric Geiss.

"It means he has obviously acknowledged that the state has sufficient evidence to prove that there was probable cause that crimes were committed and that he did it," said Harrison County Prosecutor Herman Cox.

Goff faces a total of 17 counts, including rapes, kidnappings, attempted sexual assaults, and molestation.  Two cases date back to 2006.  One involved a couple who was kidnapped and raped while camping off Three Rivers Road.  Another involved a man and a 14-year-old girl who were kidnapped and raped at the same site.

Earlier this month, Goff was arrested after he allegedly kidnapped a man and a woman and tried to sexually assault them.  Goff is also accused in a fourth case, an attempted sexual assault of a woman in D'Iberville in June.

Geiss told WLOX News how he plans to fight the charges.

"Our first tactic is going to be to have a psychologist appointed and do an in-depth evaluation," said Geiss.  "There were certain statements that he made to an investigator that leads me to believe we might be looking at a psychological problem."

"He was armed.  He ordered the people out, ordered them to do certain things.  He wore a mask to hide his identity," said Cox.  "So clearly he knew what he was doing was wrong and he knew the difference between right and wrong."

Cox said he also has witness accounts, as well as DNA and other physical evidence against Goff.

"The only thing the state doesn't have is a confession, and we don't need it," said Cox.

At the hearing, Goff also pleaded 'no contest' to unrelated misdemeanor charges, including petty larceny and hunting violations.  The judge gave him jail time.  However, Goff was given credit for time already served.  Goff remains in the Harrison County jail without bond.

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