Polo Magnate Takes Stand In DUI Manslaughter Trial
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South Florida Crime
WEST PALM BEACH (CBSMiami) – The DUI manslaughter trial of Wellington polo magnate John Goodman continued to wind down Wednesday as the defense continued to put on their case.
Just before noon, defense attorney Roy Black put Goodman on the stand to let the jury hear from him in his own words.
“When you got into that car, were you either drunk, impaired, or intoxicated,” Black asked Goodman.
“Absolutely not,” Goodman said.
Prosecutors claim Goodman was driving under the influence when he crashed into Wilson. 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, tried to counter the DUI accusation with another theory. His expert testified that the millionaire left the scene because he may have suffered a concussion and 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.
Goodman admitted on the stand that he had four drinks over the course of the evening.
Goodman said the last thing he remembered before the accident was that the brakes seemed odd.
“So I continued to apply the brakes and I slowed before the stop sign, well before the stop sign,” Goodman said. “I took my foot off the brake and that’s the last thing I remember.”
Goodman told the jury that after the crash, he passed out. When he came to, he said he was disoriented and didn’t initially realize he hit anyone, because Wilson’s car was submerged in the canal.
Goodman said he took off walking, looking for a phone. He said he ended up in an office in this barn, known as “a man-cave with a TV and bar. He said he had a few drinks to kill the pain of his injuries and that’s why he failed a blood alcohol test.
“It would take 11-14 ounces of alcohol to get to that level,” pointed out prosecutor Ellen Roberts.
“Ok,” replied Goodman.
“That’s 11-14 once ounce shots,” Roberts continued. “Is that how much you drank?”
“Must have been,” Goodman said.
Goodman told the jury he drank in the “man-cave” and then hiked through a field to a nearby trailer where he first called his girlfriend and then called 911. On the 911 tape, Goodman sounded disoriented, continually asking if everyone was alright.
He said that it was during that call that he got scared, realizing the wreck was worse than he knew.
The defense finished its case Wednesday and the jury will now hear closing arguments before beginning deliberations on the case.