Dealing With the Devil

Brandy DuVall went through hell before she died. She left no angels as witnesses.

It was a good life, but Theresa still wanted more. Before she'd moved to California, she had once mentioned to Bill and her mother that she might want to join the Air Force. They'd laughed, since she was never one to follow orders and would probably end up in the brig for insubordination.

But in 1979 she decided to join anyway, even though Bill was against it. She packed up the kids, saying she wanted to visit her mother. Back in Denver, Theresa went to the Air Force recruitment office and passed the written and physical examinations for placement in the reserves. Only then did she call Bill and tell him. It would mean leaving the boys with Big Dan for six months while she went through basic and then trained to be a flight medical technician.

Bill was angry but quickly resigned himself to the fact that the deed was already done. "Just keep your mouth shut when somebody gives you an order," he warned.

After Theresa completed her classes, she returned to Denver and met up with Bill, who drove the family back to California.

Theresa eventually applied for active duty and was lucky enough to be assigned to the same base as Bill. She enjoyed flying and seeing different parts of the country.

Unfortunately, by now she'd discovered she enjoyed something else: injecting methamphetamine. It would destroy her marriage to Bill and, many years later, compound the guilt she was feeling over the death of a fourteen-year-old girl named Brandy DuVall.

January 7, 1998
Frank Vigil Jr. shuffles into the courtroom, shackles around his ankles, hands cuffed behind his back. A large, ill-fitting suit coat can't disguise the bulk of the shock control belt, capable of sending 50,000 volts of electricity into his body, fastened around his thin hips.

Vigil half-smiles at his mother and brothers sitting in the second row behind the defense table. They smile back, weakly. The exchange is brief, and then Vigil's face goes blank as he turns away.

The first row behind the defense table has been marked off-limits by court security personnel. They don't want to take any chances, considering the rumors of death threats and gang retaliation. But even without barriers, the first several rows on the defense side remain virtually empty, while the three long pews behind the prosecution table are full. No one--not the media, not veteran courtroom watchers, not the casually curious--wants to sit on the side of a defendant charged with such a heinous crime.

The family and friends of the murdered girl take up most of the first two rows on the prosecution side. Sitting in front is Brandy DuVall's mother, Angela Metzger, slim and attractive; beside her sits her husband, Carl. Next to them, Paul Vasquez, Brandy's maternal grandfather, inserts earplugs and pats the knee of the sad, tiny woman next to him: Rose, his wife, from whom Brandy received her middle name.

Deputy district attorneys Hal Sargent, Mark Randall and Ingrid Bakke sit at the prosecution table, nearest to the jury box. With Sargent in the lead, the same three will stay together to prosecute the cases against Vigil and his co-defendants, Francisco Martinez and Danny Martinez Jr., in separate trials. Seated with the prosecutors are Jeffco investigators Simmons and Moore.

The deputy who escorted Vigil into the courtroom unlocks the handcuffs. He stands behind the sixteen-year-old until he takes a seat next to his lawyer, Randy Canney.

Vigil doesn't look dangerous. His thick, coal-black hair has grown out and is combed neatly back. A spectator on the prosecution side wonders aloud if he even shaves.

Judge Michael Villano, a 65-year-old jurist with twenty years on the bench, enters the courtroom and, when everyone is reseated, addresses the lawyers. One of the male jurors is still trying to get out of serving, he says. The man showed up that morning with a letter from his employer stating that he is "integral" to the business.

Other prospective jurors had tried to evade jury duty, citing fears of gang retaliation. Some of them are on the jury anyway, including a woman who said she'd had to send her son out of state because of problems with a gang. But Villano says he's decided to let this man go, even though there will now be only one alternate juror to fill in if one of the others can't continue or has to be removed at some point.

Villano instructs the bailiff to bring in the jurors: four women and nine men. Then it's time for opening statements. The courtroom, which had been buzzing, quickly grows quiet as Bakke stands to deliver the outline of the prosecution's case.

Bakke has been with the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office since 1990 and with the office's Crimes Against Children unit for almost four years. It will be up to her to begin the process of destroying the defense's expected portrayal of a young, misguided Hispanic youth, replacing it with the portrait of a sadistic and brutal gang member.

Pausing at the lectern, Bakke gathers herself and then, softly, begins explaining to the jurors that what they will hear over the next week or two will be "extremely difficult" to listen to but "is not meant to evoke your sympathy." It is presented, she says, so that they can judge for themselves what happened the night Brandy DuVall was raped and murdered.

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