Testimony is now under way at the DUI manslaughter trial of Florida millionaire John Goodman. The case received nationwide attention after the defendant adopted his adult girlfriend to protect his assets. NBC's Mark Potter reports.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- A jury on Friday found John Goodman, a South Florida polo mogul, guilty of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide in the Feb. 12, 2010 crash that killed Scott Wilson.
Police say a drunken Goodman, the founder of the International Polo Club Palm Beach, rammed his black Bentley convertible into Wilson's car two years ago, causing it to roll into a canal. Goodman is accused of leaving the scene and waiting nearly an hour to call 911 as Wilson died.
Goodman was later found to have a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit.
Prosecutors argued Goodman likely had 16 to 18 drinks before he got behind the wheel, and said Goodman walked away from the crash scene and called his girlfriend and a friend before finally calling 911, WPTV reported.
Goodman's attorney, Roy Black, said his client only a had a few drinks that night. He claimed the Bentley malfunctioned and accelerated into the intersection. Black also said Goodman drank after the crash to ease his pain.
The case made headlines after Goodman legally adopted his girlfriend, in what was seen as a legal manuever 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 earlier this month, shortly before the criminal trial began, according to WPTV.
Goodman is facing up to 30 years in prison when he is sentenced on April 30.
After nearly two weeks of testimony, the prosecution and defense made their closing arguments on Thursday before turning the case over to the six jurors late in the day.
They deliberated for about a half hour before deciding end their deliberations and resume Friday morning.
"The jury in the Goodman case exercised sound judgment in its analysis of the factual and expert evidence in this trial" said State Attorney Peter Antonacci in a statement after the verdict. "Scott Wilson was a young man with a bright future and his life was tragically cut short. I hope that Scott's family now experiences some closure so that the healing process can go forward in this particularly tragic event."
Scott Wilson's mother thanked the jury after the verdict.
"I know that it took a lot for them to come up with a conclusion and justice has been served," Lily Wilson said. "I'm always gonna miss my son."
Msnbc.com staff contributed to this report from NBCMiami.com.
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