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Entries in Scott Wilson (2)

Saturday
Mar242012

Polo Tycoon's Story Wasn't Credible, Juror in DUI Manslaughter Case Says

Hemera/Thinkstock(WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.) -- A juror who helped convict Florida polo tycoon John Goodman of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide said the defendant's testimony, including the argument that he got drunk only after a fatal February 2010 crash, simply wasn't credible.

In fact, Dennis DeMartin, juror number five, told ABC News, Goodman's testimony was "pitiful."

"I really felt sorry for him," said DeMartin, a retired accountant who plans to write a book about the experience. "I didn't think they should have put him on up there. I think that was a mistake."

Goodman, 48, and his defense said he wasn't drunk at the time of the accident in Wellington, Fla., but that his $200,000 Bentley malfunctioned, slamming into Scott Wilson's Hyundai with fatal results, that he hit his head and didn't realize Wilson's car was sinking in the canal nearby.

Wilson, a 23-year-old engineering graduate, was still strapped into the driver's seat and drowned.

Goodman's defense told jurors he wandered away, dazed and with a broken wrist, fractured chest and back injuries, and stumbled upon a barn with a second-floor office that was described during the trial as a "man cave," where he tried to call for help and found some alcohol.

"I grabbed a bottle of liquor, thinking it would help with my pain," Goodman testified.

Goodman's blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit when police tested him hours after the crash. "They proved that he had a .177 alcohol in his system plus some drug, but it was prescribed by a doctor," DeMartin said. "So that was the proof he had been drinking."

DeMartin said jurors believed the story about drinking in the "man cave" was "unsubstantiated," and felt, "He must have been drunk [before the crash] because he went through a stop sign."

DeMartin believed Goodman must have run a stop sign near the crash site for the accident to have caused the damage it did.

"You can't start up and just take off and hit the car over there at 60 mph or 30 mph," DeMartin said. "He had to go right through [the stop sign] is what I thought."

Goodman could be given 30 years in prison when sentenced on April 30.

The judge Friday denied defense attorney Roy Black's request for Goodman to be released on bail and Goodman was taken into custody.

DeMartin said jurors had little trouble agreeing on the verdict although they did go back and review the 911 tapes.

"I wanted to be sure that Mr. Goodman admitted that he had a few drinks," DeMartin said. "And I wanted to be sure, because he said, at first, he stopped at the stop sign, looked and then went."

Goodman, the multi-millionaire founder of the International Polo Club Palm Beach, denied being drunk at the time of the crash that killed Wilson, although other testimony contradicted him.

"I think that justice was served. I think [jurors] were very careful," prosecutor Ellen Roberts said at a news conference Friday. "They went over a lot of evidence and I think they probably returned the only verdict they could."

Roberts said she would not know what sentence she planned to recommend to the judge until she spoke with the Wilson family.

Defense attorney Black issued a statement saying that Goodman will appeal the conviction.

"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," 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."

When attorneys from both sides had their last chance to appeal to jurors in Thursday's closing arguments, they battled about the events of the night of the accident, focusing on how much Goodman had to drink.

"The defendant was impaired, the defendant was speeding, the defendant ran a stop sign, the defendant probably unintentionally had too much to drink that night," prosecutor Sherri Collins said in her closing arguments. "And when the crash happened, did he go around and look at the front of the car to see what he hit or to the canal that was three feet away? No, he headed south.

"He didn't do any of the things that are required by law and, ladies and gentlemen, there is no excuse for that," she said.

When Goodman took the stand, he denied drinking powerful cocktails known as Irish car bombs and mind erasers, which defense attorney Black reiterated in his closing arguments.

"There's no doubt this case is a tragedy, that a young man lost his life," Black said. "This is a sad thing. We all recognize that, but we're not here to compound that tragedy with another one. This is a horrible accident, but this is not a crime."

Goodman has already settled a civil suit over the crash after adopting his 42-year-old girlfriend to help protect his estate.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar212012

Polo Tycoon John Goodman Testifies at His Vehicular Homicide Trial

Hemera/Thinkstock (WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.) -- Polo tycoon John Goodman took the stand in his vehicular homicide trial on Wednesday and said that he was "absolutely not" drunk when his Bentley malfunctioned and slammed into a car, killing 23-year old Scott Wilson.

Goodman, 48, crashed into Wilson's Hyundai in February 2010, knocking the car into a canal where Wilson, 23, drowned.

The multi-millionaire is being tried on charges of DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a crash. He has pleaded not guilty, and faces up to 30 years in prison if he is convicted.

Goodman testified that he went to two gatherings earlier that night with friends and had four drinks: a vodka tonic at the White Horse Tavern and then two shots of tequila and a shot of Grey Goose vodka at the Players Club.

His Players Club bill shows a tab for more than 10 tequilas and other drinks, but Goodman said he bought a round for friends.

When asked if he was impaired, the 6-foot-1 and 220 pound man said, "Absolutely not."

Goodman said he was on his way to a Wendy's restaurant about midnight for a late night frosty when the crash occurred.

"I was travelling down and I began to apply my brakes and the car did not seem to be stopping as easily as I was used to, and I slowed near a stop sign and I applied the brake," he testified.

"I took my foot off the brake and that was the last thing I remember," he said.

Goodman's $200,000 Bentley raced through the stop sign, slamming into Wilson's vehicle.

Goodman said that when he got out of the car he was dazed and didn't know where he was.

"I looked around and didn't see what I had hit.... I had a broken wrist and a fractured chest, my back was horrible, and I had a head injury. I was in pain," he said.

Goodman said he didn't see any other vehicles, and walked away, looking for a phone because his cell phone had died.

Wilson's Hyundai had landed upside down in a nearby canal with the engineering graduate still strapped into the driver's seat.

When asked by his attorney Roy Black what he would have done if he knew a car had been knocked into the canal, Goodman replied, "If I knew there was another vehicle in the canal I would have gone in and done whatever I could."

Goodman said he wandered away from the accident in the dark, and came upon a barn with a light on. When no one answered his banging, he entered and went upstairs into a furnished office looking for a phone, he said.

When he couldn't find a phone, he sat down on a couch, and spotted a bottle of alcohol, he testified.

"I grabbed a bottle of liquor, thinking it would help with my pain," he said. "I was in excruciating pain. I was in a lot of pain."

Goodman said he went outside and spotted a light on a trailer in the distance. It was there, at the home of Lisa Pembleton, where he called 911, nearly an hour after the accident. The medical examiner testified earlier in the trial, that that time was the difference between life and death for Scott Wilson.

Goodman, founder of the International Polo Club Palm Beach, has already settled a civil suit over the crash after adopting his 42-year-old girlfriend to help protect his estate.

The trial has drawn national attention. Throughout, jurors have heard from the elite in the world of polo, including the face of Ralph Lauren and international polo star Ignacio "Nacho" Figueras. Figueras saw Goodman earlier that night at a polo charity event, where the model was serving as a celebrity bartender.

"He looked fine. When he said he was leaving, I walked with him to the door," Figueras said. He testified that he did not smell any alcohol on Goodman. Other defense witnesses said the same.

Goodman's defense team says that the crash was not Goodman's fault, arguing that he was sober and that his Bentley malfunctioned, accelerating through the intersection.

His lawyers have said that Goodman hit his head when his Bentley's side air bag did not deploy, and that he had a concussion and was confused in the hours after the accident.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio