David and Vicki did it the traditional way: they fell in love and got married. It was the only orthodox thing about their relationship.
When David Goddu met Victoria Pittorino there was a subconscious flash of recognition. Both are about 5 feet 5 inches tall, with dark hair, strikingly similar smiles and identical cleft chins.
"It was love at first sight, I guess," said the bride.
But the district attorney and the couple's parents have taken a dim view of the romance. It may be love, authorities concede, but it's also incest.
In their rush to get married, Goddu, 22, and Pittorino, 23, didn't think anyone would care that they are brother and sister. Now, the newlyweds, who were separated during childhood and reunited only a few months ago, face a District Court hearing July 25 in Lawrence, where they were arrested last week.
"You know it's weird, because they want to put you in jail for being in love, like love's against the law," said Pittorino, who spent six years trying to find her natural parents and brother.
Under Massachusetts law, close relatives who intermarry or engage in sexual intercourse can be jailed for up to 20 years. And incestuous marriages are automatically void.
Goddu and Pittorino say they decided before their wedding not to have children, and Goddu was quoted as offering to have a vasectomy, but authorities remain unconvinced.
"This marriage is a legal impossiblility," said Essex County District Attorney Kevin Burke. "If there is such a thing as an ordinary incest case, this is it."
Little else about the case is ordinary.
Pittorino, who was employed as a lab technician trainee at a hospital in Methuen, Mass., found Goddu a few months ago after six years of searching and the aid of probate court records.
They were separated by adoption about 20 years ago. She grew up in Arlington, Mass. He was reared across the state in Holyoke.
"How can you have a brother-sister relationship after 23 years?" Pittorino asked during an interview with The Lawrence Eagle Tribune. "We saw each other as boy-girl . . .But I can't say at this time whether it was right or wrong.
"If they hadn't split us up, we wouldn't be in this mess. We felt legally the state separated us and put us up for adoption. Legally we were not brother and sister."
Goddu added, "It's too late for Vicki and I to change our feelings."
The couple's parents, all six of them, have been less than sympathetic.
When Pittorino called her natural mother to announce the wedding plans, the mother was quoted as saying, "She sounded so happy. I was horrified."
James Goddu, David's adoptive father, said he thought Victoria was "a wonderful girl." He said, "We were so happy for David. Now, we wish it never did happen."
The couple's trouble with the law began June 9, when Victoria's adoptive mother, Isabel Pittorino, signed a complaint charging incest.
Victoria told the newspaper that her adoptive parents "were not appreciative of David in any way, shape or form" and threw them out of their house, where the couple had been living. The pair said they now are living in David's automobile.
An attorney for the Pittorinos says the family just wants Vicki home and placed under psychiatric care.
"I'm scared of going to jail," Pittorino said. "I'm not concerned with the separation, because if I found him [David] once I'd find him again."
District Attorney Burke predicted, "They're not going to prison. If they are convicted, I'd doubt seriously if they'd be given any incarceration."