Supreme Court refuses to hear appeal of Florida polo club founder’s drunken driving conviction
While their hearts are still broken eight years after their son was killed in a crash caused by Wellington polo club founder John Goodman, William Wilson and Lili Wilson can finally find some consolation.
The U.S. Supreme Court Monday refused to hear Goodman’s appeal of his driving-under-the-influence manslaughter conviction and 16-year prison sentence in the death of 23-year-old Scott Wilson. As is typical when cases are rejected, the justices provided no reason.
The decision ends a twisted case after countless hearings, a civil lawsuit, Goodman’s adoption of his girlfriend, the conviction of an elderly juror and two separate trials in which jurors reached the same conclusion about Goodman’s guilt.
“Final closure may have finally been achieved for the entire Wilson family,” said attorney Scott Smith, who represented William Wilson in the civil lawsuit over his son’s death. “They will no longer have to endure the agony of the legal process. From the human perspective, it does nothing to lessen the pain of the tragic loss of their son.”
Still, he said, at least the divorced couple can be comforted that the 55-year-old millionaire’s years-long effort to escape responsibility for their son’s death is over.
“The gentleman who killed their son and lied about it is going to be in prison for a long time,” Smith said. Goodman’s plan to protect his assets by adopting his girlfriend was ultimately derailed by the courts. The heir to a Texas heating and air conditioning empire and others agreed to pay the Wilsons $46 million for the loss of their son.
The Supreme Court was the last stop for Goodman. Previously, he failed to convince a circuit judge, an appeals court and the Florida Supreme Court that a jury in 2014 got it wrong when it — like a previous jury in 2012 — convicted Goodman in the 2010 alcohol-fueled crash.
The impact of Goodman’s Bentley smashing into Scott Wilson’s Hyundai sent the smaller car into a canal where the recent engineering graduate drowned. Both juries also convicted Goodman of failing to render aid.
During both trials, Goodman claimed that his Bentley malfunctioned. He also claimed that he wasn’t drunk at the time of the crash but was so upset afterward that he ran to a nearby house where he drank alcohol to calm his nerves.
At his second trial, he also claimed that the needle that was used to draw his blood falsely elevated his blood-alcohol level.
The second trial was ordered after a juror in the first trial wrote a self-published book in which he revealed that he conducted a drinking experiment at home to determine whether Goodman was drunk on the night of the crash. After learning that juror Dennis DeMartin violated his orders not to do outside research, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath threw out the verdict. DeMartin was found guilty of contempt and served 37 days in jail.
— The Palm Beach Post
Mine worker reported dead in Alaska bear mauling, troopers say
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A person was reported fatally mauled by a bear Monday morning on Admiralty Island in Southeast Alaska, according to Alaska State Troopers.
Troopers got a report of a mauling at Greens Creek Mine at 8:44 a.m.
Brown bears are the only type of bear on Admiralty Island, said Ken Marsh, spokesman for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Marsh said the reported fatality had not yet been confirmed. Staff members from the agency’s Douglas office were en route, he said.
“If there is a fatality as reported, there would be the recovery of the individual, we would try to find the bear and put it down,” Marsh said.
There would also be “an overall investigation to try and determine what led to this tragic mauling,” Marsh said.
Greens Creek Mine primarily produces silver, according to the company’s website.
The victim was a contracted employee with the mine, according to a statement from Mike Satre, spokesman for Hecla Greens Creek Mining Co.
The mauling happened at a “remote drill site” on the mine’s surface that is accessible only by helicopter, Satre said.
“Mine personnel are securing the area and working with state and federal authorities to investigate the situation,” Satre said.
The person’s identity is being withheld pending family notification, Satre said.
Alaska Wildlife Troopers were also responding, troopers said.
— Anchorage Daily News
2 charged with death of landlord whose body was hidden in sewer in Chicago
CHICAGO — Two men have been charged with the strangulation death of a 76-year-old landlord whose body was found nearly two months after it was hidden in a sewer in the Englewood neighborhood on the South Side, according to Chicago police.
Elijah Green, 25, and Tony Green, 22, were arrested over the weekend and charged with first-degree murder. They live in the 6200 block of South May Street, where the body of Vasudeva Kethireddy was discovered on Sept. 28 after police got a tip.
Police said Kethireddy, from Rolling Meadows, had been last seen in that area collecting rents on Aug. 4.
Kethireddy’s white 2005 Toyota Prius was found Aug. 7 near 60th and May streets, authorities said. Its license plates had been removed.
His son, Shantan Kethireddy, said his father had been collecting rents that day from at least six properties he owned in the Englewood area, depositing checks at an area bank. About 4 p.m., he was seen on video surveillance at a Chase bank branch, where he had withdrawn a large amount of cash, his son said.
Kethireddy said his father was a victim of an attack in Englewood last year when he was robbed of his car and wallet by someone who struck him in the back of the head, knocking him out and hospitalizing him.
Kethireddy said his father chalked it up to a random incident in a community where he had been doing business for at least seven years. His father bought houses, fixed them up and rented them to families.
A reward totaling $11,000 was offered for information about him.
— Chicago Tribune