Billionaire's DUI manslaughter retrial using Hillsborough County jurors

By Erin Maloney, Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, October 07, 2014, 6:17 PM

The DUI manslaughter retrial of a Palm Beach County billionaire is trying to seat a jury from a pool of Hillsborough County residents.

John B. Goodman, a Texas-born industrialist and Palm Beach polo magnate, is charged with manslaughter in the 2010 death of a college student.

According to prosecutors, Goodman was driving his Bentley drunk in February 2010 when he ran a stop sign and slammed into a car driven by Scott Patrick Wilson, 23. Wilson's car went into a canal, where he drowned.

Goodman left the scene, police said. His second trial opened Monday with the start of jury selection in Tampa.

During his first trial in 2012, Goodman, 49, was found guilty of DUI-manslaughter and vehicular homicide and sentenced to 16 years in prison. However, that conviction was later overturned because of juror misconduct. Goodman posted a $4 million bond to stay out of jail as he awaited a second trial.

The publicity generated by the case in the wealthy enclave of Palm Beach has led attorneys to seek jurors from Hillsborough County. The case also made national headlines when Goodman adopted his 42-year-old girlfriend to make her eligible for a share of his $300 million trust.

Prosecuting attorneys said Goodman was taking advantage of a legal loophole to protect his wealth and avoid a massive wrongful death lawsuit.

Once sat, the jury will travel to Palm Beach County to decide Goodman's fate. The jury will be sequestered at a Palm Beach hotel for as long as three weeks.

Jury selection in Tampa may take a week.