Polo tycoon John Goodman was found guilty today of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide by a Florida jury.
The six-person jury, comprised of five men and one woman, signalled that they had reached a verdict today after 5.5 hours of deliberation.
He could be sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Goodman's Bentley slammed into Scott Wilson's Hyundai and sent it into a nearby canal in Wellington, Fla., in February 2010. Wilson, a 23-year-old engineering graduate, was still strapped into the driver's seat and drowned.
The multi-millionaire founder of the International Polo Club Palm Beach claims his $200,000 car malfunctioned and lurched forward. He has also denied being drunk at the time of the crash that killed Wilson, although other testimony has contradicted him and his blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit three hours after the crash.
"The defendant was impaired, the defendant was speeding, the defendant ran a stop sign, the defendant probably unintentionally had too much to drink that night," prosecutor Sherri Collins said in her closing arguments. "And when the crash happened, did he go around and look at the front of the car to see what he hit or to the canal that was three feet away? No, he headed south."
"He didn't do any of the things that are required by law and, ladies and gentlemen, there is no excuse for that," she said.
When Goodman, 48, took the stand, he denied drinking powerful cocktails known as Irish car bombs and mind erasers, which defense attorney Roy Black reiterated in his closing arguments.
"At the White Horse Tavern, there are five eyewitnesses. The eyewitnesses unanimously say John Goodman had one drink. Unanimously," Black said.
The defense argued that Goodman's blood alcohol level was high because after the accident, he stumbled to a nearby barn where he tried to call for help and drank from a bottle of liquor he found there to ease the pain from a broken wrist, fractured chest and back injuries.
"There's no doubt this case is a tragedy, that a young man lost his life," Black said. "This is a sad thing. We all recognize that, but we're not here to compound that tragedy with another one. This is a horrible accident, but this is not a crime."
Goodman has already settled a civil suit over the crash after adopting his 42-year-old girlfriend to help protect his estate.
- John Goodman