Jurors hear closing arguments in John Goodman DUI manslaughter retrial
Wellington polo mogul charged in 2010 crash that killed Scott Wilson
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Jurors will weigh the evidence presented in the retrial of a Wellington polo mogul charged in a 2010 crash that killed a recent college graduate.
Defense attorneys called their final witness to testify before closing arguments began Monday afternoon.
"Ladies and gentlemen, John Goodman drove his car on Feb. 12, 2010, and he shouldn't have," assistant state attorney Sherri Collins told the jury.
Goodman, 51, is charged with DUI manslaughter in the death of Wilson, 23, in February 2010.
Authorities said Goodman was drunk when his Bentley ran a stop sign and slammed into Wilson's car, which plunged into a canal.
In 2012, Goodman was found guilty of DUI manslaughter and failure to render aid, but those verdicts were overturned because of juror misconduct.
In court Monday, Collins said Goodman's poor choices and "stupid, stupid actions" claimed Wilson's life.
Defense attorney Doug Duncan said the crash was a terrible tragedy, but he reiterated Goodman committed no crime.
"He was not impaired," Duncan said during his closing arguments. "He was not intoxicated."
Evidence during the trial showed that Goodman racked up a bar tab of about $272 in the hours before the crash and that his blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit.
Goodman, who is the founder of the International Polo Club Palm Beach, admitted to taking two tequila shots and having a vodka drink at the Players Club, but he denied being intoxicated.
Instead, defense attorneys claimed a disoriented Goodman left the scene to find help and stumbled upon a polo player's shed, where he drank a bottle of liquor to calm his nerves.
Defense attorneys also presented testimony from a former NASA rocket scientist who claimed Goodman's Bentley malfunctioned, accounting for the high-rate of speed at which it collided with Wilson's car.
Their final witness -- mechanical forensic engineer Michael Urban -- told jurors he believes Goodman's Bentley and the Hyundai driven by recent college graduate Scott Wilson collided twice, not once, as the lead investigator concluded.
Urban testified that there was a secondary impact in which Wilson's passenger side slammed into the Bentley before the cars separated and Wilson's car rolled into the canal.
"Mr. Goodman was speeding and ran a stop sign," Collins said. "Everything else really has nothing to do with the elements of this case."
Collins suggested that Goodman could have helped Wilson if he had stayed at the scene.
"He did not walk away from that canal knowing that young man was there," Duncan countered.
A jury was selected in Tampa and brought to West Palm Beach for the retrial because of all the publicity the high-profile trial attracted initially. Jurors have been sequestered in the hotel where they're staying.
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