PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fl—A Houston millionaire took the stand in his own defense Wednesday and told jurors he wasn’t drunk the night prosecutors say he rammed his Bentley into the car of a recent college graduate, killing him.
John Goodman is on trial for DUI manslaughter in Palm Beach County, Florida.
The heir to an air conditioning fortune is accused of driving his Bentley drunk in February of 2010 and running into a Hyundai driven by 23-year old Scott Wilson.
Wilson’s car ended up in a canal and he died.
"John, are you nervous today?" asked Goodman’s attorney, Roy Black when Goodman took the stand.
"Yes, sir," responded Goodman.
Goodman said he had a few drinks the night of the accident, but he was not drunk when he left the Player’s Polo Club and headed to Wendy’s to get a Frosty.
"Did you have any drink? Did you have any alcoholic drink during dinner?" asked Black.
"No I did not," said Goodman.
"Why not?" asked Black.
"The service was poor and I didn’t have a drink," responded Goodman.
Goodman admitted he had two tequila shots and two shots of vodka before the night was over, but says he never had a Mind Eraser or an Irish Car Bomb like prosecutors allege.
"In the time you were at the White Horse Tavern, how many alcoholic drinks did you have?" asked Black.
"At the White Horse Tavern, I had one drink," said Goodman.
"After dinner, did you go into the bar and get any other drinks?" asked Black.
"No I did not," Goodman responded.
Goodman told jurors that after he left the polo club, he headed to Wendy’s, but his brakes failed and he doesn’t remember what happened after that.
He said he knows he hit something, but he wasn’t sure what it was.
Goodman told jurors that he looked around but didn’t see anything so he walked to a barn where he opened a bottle of liquor because he was so stressed out about what happened.
About an hour later, he called his girlfriend and then called 911.
Goodman recently adopted his adult girlfriend to protect his vast fortune from a lawsuit filed by Wilson’s family. The lawsuit was later settled.
The criminal case could go to a jury as early as tomorrow.
If convicted of the charges against him, Goodman could face up to 30 years in prison.