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Defense Begins Case In Goodman DUI Manslaughter Trial

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(Source: CBS4) John Goodman

(Source: CBS4) John Goodman

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WEST PALM BEACH (CBSMiami) – The defense has begun their case for Wellington polo magnate John Goodman who is charged with DUI manslaughter.

Monday morning the prosecution wrapped up its presentation by putting the lead traffic homicide investigator, according to the Palm Beach Post, along with the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner.

Prosecutors are trying to prove that Goodman was driving under the influence when he crashed his Bentley into another which plunged into a canal killing its driver – 23-year old Scott Wilson.

“From looking at both the scrapes and abrasions that you saw to the surface of the skin, as well as the injuries that was done inside, would Scott Wilson have survived this crash?” Prosecutor Sherri Collins asked Dr. Stephen Alex.

“Yes, if he hadn’t drowned,” Dr. Alex, Palm Beach County Medical Examiner responded.

A blood sample taken nearly three hours after the crash showed Goodman had a blood alcohol level of .17 ; more than twice the legal limit.

Goodman’s attorney, Roy Black, said the millionaire may have suffered a concussion from hitting his head on the windshield and that is to blame for his behavior.

The defense has to explain why he left the scene and said because of the concussion, he did not behave as you’d expect someone to if they were just in an accident.

“There could be difficulty with reactions, walking like you’re drunk,” said defense neuropsychologist Dr. Richard Hamilton. “It can be visual problems.”

Prosecutors questioned the defense’s expert by saying he never examined Goodman, did not study the case and couldn’t really tell if the behavior showed someone with a head injury or someone who was drunk.

“Would you ever be able to determine at that point what was concussion and what was alcohol?” Collins asked Dr. Hamilton.

“Are you giving me a hypothetical?” Dr. Hamilton responded, to which the prosecution said yes. “No, I would not.”

Defense attorneys claim Goodman didn’t start drinking until after the crash, but before he met with police. Black said Goodman started drinking because he was in pain from his injuries.

Last week, jurors went on a field trip or sorts and looked at both Goodman and Wilson’s damaged vehicles.

The defense is expected to put on two days of testimony meaning the case could go to the jury as early as Wednesday.

Goodman could be sentenced up to 30 years if convicted.

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