WEST PALM BEACH (CBSMiami) – The way has been cleared for Wellington polo mogul John Goodman to be sentenced Friday on DUI manslaughter charges, after Palm Beach Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath rejected claims by Goodman’s lawyer Monday of juror misconduct.
However a new wrinkle involving a juror’s decision to experiment with alc0hol to test evidence in the trial could still give Judge Colbath the chance to take up the issue of a new trial yet again.
The decision Monday was narrow in scope, rejecting juror Michael St. John’s claim that some jurors had made up their minds as before deliberations began. He claimed he personally felt pressured to return a guilty verdict.
The judge rejected those claims, but as jurors were being questioned on that issue juror Dennis DeMartin, revealed he had conducted an experiment with alcohol to understand how Goodman might have felt while drinking.
Jurors aren’t allowed to do their own investigating, and DeMartin complicated things even further when he revealed he’s written a short book about the trial as it was underway.
When that information was revealed, Judge Colbath said he’s issue a ruling on that seperately, but it’s not known if that will come before the sentencing date.
Goodman faces up to 30 years in prison.
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. 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.