Polo Mogul Gets 16-Year Sentence In DUI Death

Polo Club founder sentenced to 16 years in prison in DUI death

Friday, May 11, 2012  |  Updated 9:15 PM EDT
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Jury Deliberates Polo Founder Manslaughter

Palm Beach County Sheriff

John Goodman

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Polo Mogul's DUI Manslaughter Trial Continues

The wealthy South Florida polo mogul charged in the DUI manslaughter death of a 23-year-old man was back in court Wednesday for the second day of testimony in his trial. John Goodman, the founder of the International Polo Club Palm Beach, is charged in the Feb. 12, 2010 crash that killed Scott Wilson.

Polo Mogul Testifies In His Manslaughter Trial

The South Florida multimillionaire accused of DUI manslaughter took the stand in his own defense Wednesday. John Goodman is the founder of the International Polo Club in Palm Beach. He made headlines last year when he adopted his girlfriend as his daughter -- allegedly to save his fortune in a civil lawsuit. Goodman is charged in the February 2010 crash that killed 23-year-old Scott Wilson.
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A Florida polo mogul has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for a fatal drunken-driving crash.

John Goodman faced up to 30 years in prison in the 2010 death of 23-year-old Scott Wilson.

He briefly spoke in his own defense Friday, saying he carried the loss of Wilson with him each day. A prosecutor derided him as "a coward."

Goodman, 48, was found guilty in March of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide in the February 2010 crash that killed 23-year-old Scott Wilson.

Goodman's attorneys are appealing the guilty verdict amid allegations of jury misconduct.

Police say Goodman ran a stop sign and rammed into Wilson's car, which rolled into a canal, where the young man died. Authorities say Goodman left the scene and waited nearly an hour to call 911. His blood alcohol level measured more than twice the legal driving limit.

The multimillionaire Goodman is founder and owner of the International Polo Club. His attorney has said he plans to appeal the conviction.

Juror Dennis DeMartin claims he conducted a drinking experiment the night before he and the jury convicted Goodman. DeMartin said that he drank the same amount Goodman allegedly drank the night of the crash to test the polo mogul’s state of mind.

DeMartin made the allegations in a self-published book, "Believing in the Truth," which was released last week.

Goodman’s attorney Roy Black last week called for Judge Jeffrey Colbath to throw out the conviction based on DeMartin’s actions, which he said were a clear case of juror misconduct.

Colbath was to question DeMartin before the Goodman sentencing. Goodman's attorneys plan to argue that he should be released while he appeals his conviction, according to WPTV.

In addition to DeMartin's claims, juror Michael St. John said he had felt pressure into convicting Goodman and said he wasn't sure he was guilty.

But at a hearing on Monday, Colbath agreed with prosecutors who said that St. John should have spoken up at the time of the verdict, and denied a motion by Goodman's attorneys for a new trial.

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