Polo Magnate Gets 16 Years for DUI Death

Friday, 11 May 2012 04:54 PM

By Martin Gould

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The polo magnate who adopted his girlfriend in what appeared to be an attempt to keep his millions from the family of a man he killed in a drunken car crash was sentenced on Friday to 16 years in jail.

John Goodman fled the scene after he plowed his Bentley into Scott Wilson’s car in February 2010, pushing it into a canal where the 23-year-old engineering student drowned.

Relatives of the founder of the International Polo Club in Wellington, Fla., pleaded with Judge Jeffrey Colbath to be lenient with him, stressing his philanthropy and works to the community, the Palm Beach Post reported.

Colbath’s sentence was near the midway point of the minimum 11 and a half years and the maximum of 20 for DUI manslaughter. He also ordered Goodman to pay a $10,000 fine and revoked his driver’s license permanently. "Nothing good is going to happen from this," Colbath said. "My sentence isn't going to change anything."

The judge said he considered Goodman’s good works in his sentence, but he also had to take into account the fact that Goodman acted "to save himself, to do whatever he could to escape the liability he knew was coming his way."

Colbath also rejected a defense motion for a new trial because juror Dennis DeMartin admitted carrying out an experiment by drinking roughly the same as Goodman was alleged to have done to see how drunk he felt.

"Is that misconduct? Yes," said Colbath. "But I don't think it was material."

The case gained national attention when Goodman, 48, adopted his 42-year-old girlfriend in what was interpreted as an attempt to prevent Wilson’s family from receiving millions in a wrongful death lawsuit.

However, he has now agreed to pay a total of $46 million to Wilson’s parents.

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