Police say a drunken John Goodman ran a stop sign in 2010 and rammed his black Bentley into Scott Wilson's Hyundai, causing it to roll into a canal, where the young man drowned.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Polo mogul John Goodman, who infamously adopted his girlfriend, was convicted of DUI-manslaughter and vehicular homicide Friday and immediately taken to the Palm Beach County Jail.
Goodman, 48, faces up to 30 years in prison.
For the family of Scott Wilson, 23, killed in the February 2010 crash, the verdict brought some measure of relief.
“I will always remember my son,” Lili Wilson said outside court. “This is the time for the healing to begin.”
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“No one should outlive his child,” William Wilson said in a statement. “I have lost my best friend.”
Police say a drunken Goodman ran a stop sign and rammed his black Bentley into Wilson’s Hyundai, causing it to roll into a canal, where the young man drowned. Authorities say Goodman left the scene and waited nearly an hour to call 911.
Palm Beach County Medical Examiner Michael Bell testified that Wilson would have survived the crash if someone had rescued him from the canal.
Three hours after the crash, Goodman’s blood-alcohol level was measured at .177 percent, more than twice the legal driving limit.
He will remain jailed until his April 30 sentencing. Goodman’s lead attorney, Roy Black, said he plans to appeal the verdict.
The case gained national attention when it was revealed Goodman had quietly adopted his 42-year-old girlfriend, making her eligible for a share of the $300 million trust he’d established for his two biological children.
Critics said Goodman was trying to protect some of his wealth from a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by Wilson’s family. Goodman settled with the Wilson family for an unspecified amount this month, before the criminal trial began.
A guardian for his teenage children has filed a lawsuit to have the adoption nullified.
Jurors rejected critical elements of the defense, including that Goodman, of Wellington, Fla., after leaving the scene of the crash, went to a nearby barn. It was owned by polo player Kris Kampsen, who described his office there as his “man cave” where he kept several bottles of liquor. Goodman testified he slugged back the alcohol to alleviate the pain of his broken wrist.
“We didn’t believe that he was in the ‘man cave,’ ” juror Dennis DeMartin, 68, said Friday after deliberations.
The verdict represents a dramatic reversal of fortune for Goodman, an heir to a vast Texas air-conditioning and heating fortune. He is a well-known figure in polo circles, and the founder of Polo Club International Palm Beach. His privileged life included living in a $6 million mansion on 80 acres with elaborate horse stables.
Material from The Palm Beach Post and The Associated Press is included in this report.