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Trial Of Man Accused In Mask Murder To Begin

August 24, 1985

NEW CITY, N.Y. (AP) _ Five months after hikers found a burned, half-eaten corpse, its head encased in a hooded leather mask, jury selection is to begin Monday for the trial of a man accused in what authorities call a sadomasochistic killing.

Bernard LeGeros, 22, has pleaded innocent by reason of insanity in the killing of Eigil Dag Vesti, 26, a Norwegian fashion model and student who was shot and his body burned before being left to wild animals.

The main issue, both sides say, is LeGeros’ sanity on Feb. 22, the night Vesti was murdered on the estate of LeGeros’s father in Stony Point.

″LeGeros was criminally responsible for his actions,″ says Rockland County District Attorney Kenneth Gribetz.

LeGeros’s attorney, Murray Sprung, says his client was on drugs that night, and is a paranoid schizophrenic.

Both the defense and prosecution are expected to use expert psychiatric testimony as the groundwork for their cases.

Sprung indicated that he will show the ″Svengali-like influence″ that Manhattan art dealer Andrew Crispo, 40, had on LeGeros. Crispo ″fed him (LeGeros) drugs on a regular basis,″ Sprung said, and introduced him to the world of sadomasochism.

Crispo has denied all association with Vesti’s murder and has not been charged.

In a 900-word confession, LeGeros implicated Crispo, for whom he worked as an assistant.

According to the confession, Crispo was the leader in a night of sadomasochism that began in Manhattan and ended on the estate with the death of Vesti, a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology and son of an Oslo merchant.

Sprung noted that every one of a series of confessions LeGeros gave authorities before his arrest was different. ″He doesn’t know the truth,″ he said.

Investigations led to the digging up of the lawn on Crispo’s Southampton, Long Island, estate and a search of his gallery, where a .22-caliber rifle believed to be the murder weapon was found. Those actions prompted Crispo to file a lawsuit against Rockland County and Gribetz for an unspecified amount of damages.

Crispo and LeGeros are under a separate Manhattan indictment charging them with kidnapping and torturing a homosexual graduate student at the gallery last year.

″I had never heard of such things before this,″ admitted Sprung. ″These kinds of behavior usually end before the point of injury. But in this case, it did not.″

Gribetz has been close-mouthed about the direction of his case but says two court-appointed psychiatrists, Drs. John Train and Alan Tuckman, are ready to refute the defense claims of insanity.

″He did not suffer from any disease,″ Gribetz said of LeGeros. ″He knew what his actions were and appreciated the nature of his conduct and knew such conduct was wrong.″

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