John Goodman found guilty in DUI manslaughter retrial

Wellington polo mogul charged in 2010 crash that killed Scott Wilson

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – A Wellington polo mogul was found guilty for the second time in a 2010 crash that killed a recent college graduate.

John Goodman, 51, was convicted of DUI manslaughter and second-degree vehicular homicide Tuesday in the February 2010 death of Scott Wilson, 23.

Jurors reached a verdict in Goodman's retrial after several hours of deliberations.

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.

"This case is about Scott Patrick Wilson, and that's who achieved justice today," assistant state attorney Alan Johnson said outside the Palm Beach County courthouse after the verdict. "And that's who we all should be thinking about."

Prosecutors claimed Goodman was intoxicated when he crashed his Bentley into Wilson's Hyundai in the early morning of Feb. 12, 2010, after a night of drinking.

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.

Scott Wilson was killed when his car was struck by John Goodman's Bentley and plunged into a canal in February 2010.
Scott Wilson was killed when his car was struck by John Goodman's Bentley and plunged into a canal in February 2010.

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.

During closing arguments, assistant state attorney Sherri Collins urged jurors to listen again to the recording of Goodman's 911 call. They did just that about an hour-and-a-half into deliberations.


Prosecutors said they wanted the jury to hear the recording again because it showed that Goodman's voice sounded clear and not like someone who just drank a half-liter of alcohol as Goodman claimed.

"While we were disappointed with the jury's verdict, we do respect that verdict," defense attorney Elizabeth Parker said. "We will be appealing this verdict based on the substantial issues that we believe are present in this case."

Among those issues that Parker cited was the admission of the blood-test results, which Goodman's attorneys tried to toss, and the decision by prosecutors to release the wrecked Bentley, which was eventually destroyed, from evidence between trials.

Wilson's mother spoke to Local 10 News after the verdict was read.

"The state did a wonderful job in proving it," Lili Wilson said. "(It was) very difficult, and the jury, it was very difficult for them to make the decision as well."

The jury was chosen in Tampa and brought to West Palm Beach for the retrial because of all the publicity the initial trial attracted. Jurors were sequestered in a hotel.

Goodman was remanded into custody. The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said Goodman would be served rice, beans, bread and cookies for dinner on his first night back in jail.

Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10