Today Show spotlighted the DUI manslaughter trial of John Goodman, which will continue in court this morning.
Photographer: Lannis Waters, Palm Beach Post
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Jurors in John Goodman's DUI manslaughter trial heard opening statements from defense and prosecutors for the first time Tuesday.
Prosecutor Ellen Roberts went through a seemingly straight-forward, to-the-point timeline of Feb. 12, 2010 -- the night Scott Wilson died.
She began with a litany of drinks ordered by Goodman and his friends that night, the bars they went to, mentioning specific drinks like mind-erasers and Irish car bombs.
According to drinksmixer.com, an Irish car bomb is a mixture of Guinness stout, Bailey's Irish cream and Jameson Irish whiskey.
Prosecutors then went through the accident scene.
According to prosecutors, after partying and drinking, Goodman ran a stop sign, hit Scott Wilson's car, and sent it into a canal.
"Mister Goodman blows that stop sign and slams his Bentley into the side of a Hyundai. And, literally pushes the little Hyundai into the canal. The Bentley stops just short of the canal and the little Hyundai rolls into the canal upside down," Roberts said.
Goodman, she says, stumbles away, walking down a dark Wellington road, eventually knocking on the door of Jennifer Pembleton. "Goodman tells her he was in a bad accident. He's sorry to bother her. He was in a bad accident. His phone isn't working. And, he asks to use her phone," Roberts said.
According to Roberts, "He didn't dial 911. He called his girlfriend."
She says, "Goodman tells his girlfriend, I've been in a really bad accident, in an end of the world accident, that's how he described it to his girlfriend, end of the world accident."
Roberts said the defendant raced through a stop sign at a minimum speed of 63 mph. "Scott Wilson didn't die from blunt trauma. He drowned. And what did the defendant do? He walked away," Roberts said.
But the defense painted an entirely different story.
Attorney Roy Black said Goodman was not drunk while driving that night -- that his Bentley malfunctioned and accidentally accelerated into the intersection when it hit Scott Wilson.
"Unbeknownst to John Goodman, the throttles the fuel that run into the engine are not working properly," said Black. He added, "Goodman is trying to control the car. It surges forward. He panics and it shoots out into the intersection and hits Scott Wilson."
The impact, he says, knocked Goodman out. "John Goodman is unconscious for a period of time. And, then he wakes. Opens the door and steps out. He has suffered a grade three concussion. He's lost. He's disoriented, He's confused. And he looks around and sees nothing. There is no car. There is no vehicle. There is nothing."
Black says, "When John Goodman went through that intersection at the time of that collision on February 12th, he was not intoxicated. He was not impaired. He was not drunk."
According to Black, Goodman tried walking to find help, but was hurting from the crash so he found alcohol in a nearby barn to ease the pain. "The pain from his middle and lower back is now radiating through his hips and into his leg as he tries to walk down the road. For the next hour, the only pain relief he was able to find comes from a bottle of alcohol."
"He did not leave that scene and abandon someone to their death," said Black. "He did not know there was somebody in that canal, he could not see that car, all he knew was he was in an accident but nothing there."
Defense attorneys this morning asked the judge for mistrial.
The judge denied the request and so testimony continues Wednesday.
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