WEST PALM BEACH (CBSMiami) – A West Palm Beach jury found Wellington Polo magnate John Goodman guilty of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide for the death of Scott Wilson,23, in a February 2010 car accident.
After the verdict, Wilson’s mother Lili said “justice has been served.” She also wanted to thank the jury for their hard work. Lili Wilson said she will always miss her son and he was a wonderful person but now it’s time for the healing to begin.
“I want to thank everyone who’s been following this case and praying for me,” Lili said. “I’m always going to miss my son. He is the most wonderful…I will always cherish his memories.”
The jury received the case Friday morning and the only thing the jury asked for was to listen to the 911 calls made by Goodman on the night of the accident.
The jury made the request after roughly two hours of deliberation. The jury returned to the courtroom to listen to the tapes this morning and had a written transcript to follow along.
The jury took less than half a day to reach a unanimous guilty verdict against Goodman.
Goodman was denied bail by the judge and was taken into custody after the verdict was read. Goodman will appeal the jury’s verdict.
“It is our belief that multiple errors were committed during and before the trial, that, in effect, denied our client’s ability to get a fair trial,” Goodman’s attorney Roy Black said. “We intend to file an appeal so that our client can receive the just and fair proceeding to which he is entitled by law.”
Goodman made national headlines when he adopted his girlfriend as his daughter to help deal with his assets in the event of a lawsuit in civil court.
In closing arguments made Thursday, prosecutors sought to poke holes in the defense’s claim that Goodman’s car malfunctioned and that he started drinking after the accident.
“The defendant had in his system at the time of the crash between .20 and .23 blood alcohol and a therapeutic amount of hydrocodone,” prosecutor Sherri Collins said during her closing.
Goodman’s attorneys said there’s nothing to back that up and that investigators ignored evidence. In fact, attorney Roy Black said prosecutor Ellen Roberts “put the screws” to a bartender, one of the key witnesses, trying to get testimony that would fit her case.
“She was intimidated,” said defense attorney Roy Black. “She was threatened. She said she got nervous, she wanted to vomit, she said her hands were shaken.
Prosecutors claimed Goodman was drunk when his Bentley slammed into Wilson’s car. The force of the crash pushed the car into the canal where Wilson drowned.
Investigators said Goodman left the scene and waited nearly one hour before calling 911.
Goodman’s defense team argued he didn’t realize he had hit the vehicle and then left the scene to get treatment for his injuries.
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 more than twice the legal limit.
Goodman’s attorney 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.
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.
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.
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.
Goodman could face up to 30 years in prison when he’s sentenced later this month.