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Polo mogul John Goodman gets 16-year sentence for DUI murder

Lannis Waters / AP file

John Goodman, left, and his attorneys Mark Shapiro, Guy Fronstin, and Roy Black react as the verdict is announced at the Palm Beach County, Fla., courthouse when the jury reached a verdict in March.

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET: A Florida judge on Friday sentenced Polo Club founder John Goodman to 16 years in prison on DUI murder charges, after rejecting a bid to have the guilty verdict thrown out due to a juror’s at-home drinking experiment during the trial.

“He left to try and save himself,” West Palm Beach Judge Jeffrey Colbath said of the 48-year-old Goodman’s decision to flee after causing the February 2010 crash that killed 23-year-old Scott Wilson.

Colbath acknowledged that Goodman was “extremely intoxicated at the time,” but said that he should have known better than to leave the crash scene without rendering aid to Wilson, who drowned after his vehicle was hurled by the force of the crash into a canal.

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Goodman, who also was fined $10,000, had faced up to 30 years behind bars. Under terms of the sentence, Goodman will be required to serve a minimum of four years behind bars.

He made headlines in February when he adopted his 42-year-old girlfriend in an effort to protect his fortune from being seized in the Wilsons' lawsuit against him. But last month, he was ordered to pay $46 million to Wilson's family.

Goodman's attorneys are appealing the guilty verdict and asked the judge to allow him to remain free on a $7 million bond. Colbath agreed, but ordered him held until the paperwork is completed, which could take until the middle of next week.

Earlier, Colbath rejected the defense bid to overturn the verdict based on juror Dennis DeMartin's claim that he conducted a drinking experiment the night before he and his fellow jurors convicted Goodman. DeMartin said that he drank the same amount Goodman allegedly drank the night of the crash to test the 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, had asked Colbath to throw out the conviction based on DeMartin's actions, which he said were a clear case of juror misconduct.

"Is that misconduct? I think that it is," Colbath said. But "I don't think it's material. I don't think it's prejudicial."

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.

M. Alex Johnson and Mike Brunker of msnbc.com and Brian Hamacher of NBCMiami.com contributed to this report.

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