CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE — John DeSario has carried his son’s white golf glove with him to every court appearance since May 2010.
He kept it close Monday morning as Superior Court Judge Patricia Wild announced that she found Alberto Martinez, 31, guilty of murdering 19-year-old Vincent DeSario.
“Alberto Martinez, deliberately and without provocation, struck Vincent DeSario in the head with a baseball bat,” Wild said as family and friends cried.
Wild found that Martinez, who had pursued an insanity defense, was aware of his actions on May 10, 2010, when he got off his bicycle, grabbed the baseball bat he kept on it and swung it at DeSario.
DeSario, of Edison in Middlesex County, and his two friends, who were visiting Cape May County to take part in a college golf tournament, had just crossed Atlantic Avenue near the Wildwood post office and were heading to the Wildwood Boardwalk that evening when one of them tripped.
They laughed and Martinez, witnesses said, asked, “Are you laughing at me?”
DeSario tried to explain they were not, but Martinez hit the college student with such force that witnesses said it sounded “like a gunshot.”
DeSario’s friend Michael Maglione testified that DeSario’s attacker, later identified as Martinez, made one more remark as DeSario fell. “Now you know or now you learned not to laugh at me.”
Wild said Martinez’s actions — fleeing the scene to evade capture, disposing of the baseball bat (which has never been found) and deceiving police regarding the location of the bat — all demonstrated that he knew his actions were unlawful.
The judge noted that a defense expert, Carla Rodgers, called to testified about Martinez’s mental capacity even admitted that he knew what he was doing.
The verdict, John DeSario said, gave him and his family some small comfort, though “it’s never going to bring Vinnie back.”
“It can help us close some doors and move on a little,” he said as he and his wife, Paula, and other family members talked outside of court about the young man they loved.
John DeSario said his son played golf since he was about 10 or 12 years old and the golf glove he carried to court was the one Vincent used the day he died.
His family remembered him as “a generous person who wanted to help a lot of people.”
After his death, for instance, they learned that Vincent had been helping a 55-year-old disabled man who was in one of his college classes at Middlesex County College.
“Vincent spent the whole semester with him and making sure he understood the class,” John DeSario said.
His uncle, Michael Cunningham, with aunt Janice Cunningham looking on, pointed out that it was not until Vincent died that they learned of his kindness toward the man.
“He didn’t brag or boast about anything that he did,” Paula DeSario said.
In another example, they said Vincent worked at a tuxedo shop and was able to get a free tuxedo for a special event, but instead gave it to someone less fortunate.
“He was my son and my best friend,” John DeSario said, adding he had “a very big heart.”
His aunts and uncles spoke lovingly of Vincent and of his relationship with his sister, Kara, who always laughed and smiled in his presence.
“She’s the one who held us together right from the beginning,” Paula DeSario said of her daughter.
“We’re just broken,” said his Aunt Gail Gaudioso as her husband, Anthony, sat nearby.
“It’s something we’re living with, but part of us is dead,” John DeSario said.
The family said they think of Vincent every day, and through the golf tournament that bears his name and other activities he will live on.
Prayer cards from his memorial service feature the quotes Vincent kept on a dry erase board in his bedroom.
“Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others,” one quote reads.
Janice Cunningham said the quotes were more than mere words to her nephew.
“He lived by that,” she said.
Martinez will be sentenced July 30. He faces a possible life prison term.
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