Thursday, February 16, 2017

Makeovers - Jailhouse Style

One thing I’ve learned working the court beat is that jail certainly can change one’s appearance. Sometimes courtroom observers are shocked at how a defendant’s look changes from the time of arrest to trial.

It’s hard to tell if they purposely change their looks or if the lack of a good barber and hair dyes or styling products in jail forces them to undertake a makeover.

Recently, in Montgomery County there have been examples of what I have dubbed "Makeovers – Jailhouse Style."

Take the case of well-known lawyer Vincent A. Cirillo Jr. for instance. When Cirillo, 57, who had a law office on East Penn Street in Norristown, was arrested and charged in August 2015 with raping an unconscious female client he looked like this:

Vincent A. Cirillo Jr./August 2015 mugshot Courtesy Montco DA's Office

But Cirillo shocked everyone in court last week when he showed up for his trial with a shaved head and without facial hair. 
Vincent A. Cirillo Jr. Feb. 6, 2017/Photo by Carl Hessler Jr.

Among Hollywood stars and in popular culture, I think men often sport shaved heads to project a tough-guy image or confidence. I’m not sure what image Cirillo was trying to project. Cirillo was convicted of rape and is awaiting sentencing in connection with the sexual assault of an impaired female client at the woman’s West Norriton residence on Aug. 3, 2015.  
Gregory Noonan/Dec. 2013 mugshot Courtesy Montco DA's Office

Another disbarred defense lawyer, Gregory Noonan, of Towamencin, totally changed his look between the time he was arrested in December 2013, at age 53, and when he was sentenced to five to 15 years in state prison in April 2015, at age 54, for selling oxycodone to an undercover detective and for stealing more than $87,000 from a civil client.

Gregory Noonan, April 2015/Photo by Carl Hessler Jr.

I still remember courthouse employees, who had seen Noonan around the courthouse for many years, expressing shock when they saw his drastic change in appearance for the first time. Some didn't even recognize him.

And here's the most recent photo of Noonan, snapped during a January 2017 court appearance.
Gregory Noonan, Jan. 2017/Photo by Carl Hessler Jr.

Then there’s the case of Devon Vogelsang, 24, of Pottstown, a member of the so-called “Brothas From Anotha” gang, who was sentenced Jan. 31 to 15 to 30 years in prison in connection with shootings and other violent acts that occurred in the Pottstown area between November and December 2014.

Vogelsang’s tattooed face caused quite a stir when his mugshot was publicized at the time of his May 2015 arrest.

 Devon Vogelsang/Mugshot May 2015/Photo Courtesy Montco DA's office

But by the time he was sentenced last month, since spending time in county and state prison, Vogelsang appeared to have added a few more tattoos to his face, what looked like an attempt to create a cross on his forehead and several new markings on his cheeks. Sources tell me prison tats are illegal but inmates sometimes secretly use guitar strings or staples and make their own ink to use to create new tattoos.
AFTER - Devon Vogelsang/Jan. 2017/Courtesy Montco DA's Office
In court, Assistant District Attorney Brianna Ringwood used photographs of Vogelsang’s face to carefully review the tattoos he amassed during his young life and to seek a gang enhancement that allowed for increased terms of incarceration for his crimes.

“A life of violence and crime, it has been permanently written all over his face," Ringwood argued.

An undercover county detective testified as an expert on gangs about the meanings behind Vogelsang’s tattoos. Dollar sign tattoos and the words “paper chaser” depicted Vogelsang’s “fascination with money,” the detective testified. The word “Trap” surrounded by dollar signs is a symbol for the culture of selling drugs, the detective said.

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