Cape & Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe's Office announced Monday that the Massachusetts Appeals Court upheld a contempt judgment against the witness in a local murder trial.
According to a release from the DA's Office, John Viust was called as a witness in the first degree murder trial of Robert Vacher. Viust was appointed an attorney and the court ruled that he had Fifth Amendment privileges. When the court offered immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony, he still refused to testify prompting the judge to hold him in contempt, the release said.
The Massachusetts Appeals Court upheld the court's contempt judgment and rejected Viust's claims that the judgment was made in error.
On the contempt judgment, Viust was sentenced to 90 days in the Barnstable House of Correction. According to the DA's Office, he was to serve that time following a sentence he was serving on a unrelated matter.
The Vacher case gripped the Cape when the then 20-year-old was arrested and charged with the 2008 robbery and murder of 16-year-old Jordan Mendes in Hyannis. Mendes's body had been discovered in a ditch in Hyannis. He had been shot, stabbed and then set on fire. In November 2011, Vacher, who was Mendes's cousin, was found guilty of his murder in the first degree.