Rich man, Goodman stands trial

Goodman,48 and Hutchins,42- daddy and his newly adopted daughter

Scott Wilson, age 23

The Crash Site

Back in September we followed the trial of 62 year old millionaire, James Robert Ward, Florida. Bob was charged with Murder Two in the death of his wife, Diane. On Sept 24th, an astute jury of his peers returned a verdict of ‘guilty as charged.’ Ward’s high paid attorneys did not get him off and now he is in prison where he will probably spend the rest of his natural life.

Now we have another rich dude about to stand trial in a Palm Beach County courtroom. John Goodman, 48, a Houston trust fund heir and founder of the International Polo Club Palm Beach, is accused of drunken driving in a February 2010 accident that killed a recent Orlando college engineering graduate on his way home to celebrate his sister’s birthday.

The details were laid out in a probable cause affidavit for Goodman’s arrest:
Driving his black Bentley GTC convertible after a night of drinking, Goodman plowed though a stop sign at 63 miles per hour and hit a Hyundai driven by 23-year-old Scott Wilson, the affidavit said. Goodman fled the scene on foot as Wilson, who was belted into his driver’s seat, drowned in his car, which landed upside down in a roadside canal, the document said, Goodman borrowed a phone from a Lisa Pembleton, who Goodman found in a camper. Pembleton told police that Goodman’s first call was to his girlfriend. Then, after asking Pembleton whether he appeared impaired and whether he should call for help, Goodman next called 9-1-1, the affidavit said.

Goodman has been out on bond partying it up but now it’s time for him to face the reality of his recklessness. The initial pool of 60 prospective jurors was trimmed to about two dozen who were told to report back this morning.

Goodman was found to have a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit after the fatal 2010 crash, police reports show.

His trial began yesterday, March 6, facing charges of DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide, and leaving the scene of a crash.

Some of these rich guys are quite quirkey. Let’s face it, they love their money. Well in order to try and save his assets in the event he goes to jail or loses his trousers, he adopted his 42 year old girlfriend, Heather Hutchins. One third of Goodman’s fortune can now go to his adopted daughter, Hutchins and the remaining two thirds to his biological children. You can read about it HERE

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50 Responses to Rich man, Goodman stands trial

  1. snoopysleuth says:

    Wilson’s family is suing John Goodman for wrongful death-trial set for March 27th.

    Attorneys Struggle To Find 8 Objective Jurors-Video

  2. shyloh says:

    Bwaaa I was terribly confused after reading “Goodman,48 and Hutchins,42- daddy and his newly adopted daughter”. I was looking for the adopted daughter’s “age” I finally got it at the end of the article. How UGH is that? I guess my 5th cup of coffee didn’t kick in. Maybe she’ll take off and leave his butt now.

  3. snoopysleuth says:

    Shyloh~ ~ Here is a write up I found on this strange adoption. I am beginning to wonder about some laws in Florida. LOL

    Goodman adopts girlfriend to save his millions.Illustration by Tom RogersFour months ago a 48-year-old Palm Beach multi-millionaire, polo club founder and air-conditioning mogul named John Goodman decided to share his wealth and good fortune by adopting. This would have been an admirable act, if it wasn’t a ploy to keep his millions intact and the adoptee wasn’t his 42-year-old girlfriend, Heather Laruso Hutchins.

    While this adoption seems bizarre, it is perfectly legal and they can even continue their sexual relationship because in Florida the incest statute does not mention sex with adopted relatives, only “relatives of lineal consanguinity,” or blood relatives.

    Last February, Goodman allegedly ran a stop sign, which caused his Bentley to knock a 23-year-old named Scott Wilson and his car into a drainage ditch where Wilson then drowned. Goodman’s alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit, but what’s worse, he fled the scene.

    Along with the criminal charges Goodman is facing, Wilson’s parents Lili and William Wilson, filed a wrongful death suit against him. Both trials are set for March and could potentially bankrupt Goodman

    Luckily, Goodman’s two biological children’s fortune will remain untouched no matter what the outcome may be. According to Goodman’s attorney, Daniel Bachi, he set up a trust for them in 1991 that is now worth “several hundred million dollars.” On the not so lucky side, the money won’t be disbursed until they are 35.

    Good thing Goodman doesn’t prefer to date women in their 20s or else he would probably never see any of that money – his biological children are still in their teens. Hutchins, however, is over the age of 35, and is now entitled to one third of the trust assets, which she will most likely share with her father/boyfriend. Unless of course she realizes that she can get his millions and then just walk away from the relationship while he’s spending his long vacation in jail.

    Bachi said that the adoption was actually his idea and insists that it was just to assure the stability of investment and that it has nothing to do with the lawsuit pending against Goodman.

    “Everything that has been done by Mr. Goodman was done with the intention to preserve and grow the assets of the Trust for his two minor children,” said Bachi, “even should he personally be unable to continue his historical role in achieving these goals.”

    But his children don’t seem to see it that way, considering they are now suing him as well. Their mother and guardian claims that Goodman kept the October adoption a secret from them until after Christmas and failed to mention the lawsuit Lili and William Wilson filed against him to the judge overseeing the adoption proceedings.

    Only time can tell Goodman’s fate. But from the looks of it, he is in serious trouble no matter what happens. The parents of the man he killed are suing him, his own children are suing him and the charges for driving under the influence, manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident could earn him up to 30 years in prison.

    At least he doesn’t have to worry about getting charged with incest.


  4. Techno Grannie says:

    Boy oh boy !!! WHAT NEXT? There are some strange folks living in this world.

  5. shyloh says:

    I thank God everyday I don’t live in Florida. What a messed up state. So he says “ummm this is my daughter, I mean my girlfriend, and soon to, well, um my wife?” I don’t think I’d want that roll if I were him haha. Thanks for the link.

  6. snoopysleuth says:

    Techno Grannie~ ~ if I were Ms Hutchins, I would take the money and run. I cannot see Goodman not spending some time in jail unless he can get to some of the jurors and pay them off. They are having a hard time trying to panel a jury because all the potential jurors say he is guilty as sin. I don’t think his money will save him.

  7. snoopysleuth says:

    Shyloh~~I wonder if Ms Hutchins calls him sweetheart or Daddy. Maybe sugar daddy…

    I would not even want to visit Florida let alone live there. I would be more afraid of the people there than the alligators and snakes.

  8. cali patti says:

    What Goodman did from drinking to fleeing the scene was wrong. The Wilson’s will of course sue and win. Goodman will probably lose most of his money to the atty’s and the Wilson’s law suit. Now what I have a problem with are his ungrateful children. Goodman owes his children nothing. The trust is untouchable by his kids for almost 20 years. Goodman’s “adopted” daughter will be entitled to only 1/3 of that trust.
    If the adopted daughter is as trustwothy and from what I’ve read she is, her 1/3 will be set aside for Goodman. That children’s trust is Goodmans money, his kids don’t deserve money just because they are born. If Goodman needs 1/3 his money for when he gets out then so be it.
    Mr. Goodman is in so much trouble he may never see freedom again but if he does I’m guessing that 1/3 of the trust will be there for him.

  9. snoopysleuth says:

    Cali~~Goodman adopted his girlfriend and put money in her trust so Scott Wilson’s parents could not get a hold of it if they win the wrongful death suit. Oh it was a smart move all right but I think Wilson’s parents deserve that money.

    I just heard as I was typing this, they have picked a jury so the trial will proceed. There is just 6 jurors and 2 alternates.

  10. cali patti says:

    Snoop, I did not read about him transferring money into her account. I only saw the part about the girlfriend getting 1/3 the trust. Goodman when fleeing left young Wilson to drown. For me, Goodman is a disgusting man all-around. What bothered me is Goodman’s children suing him. As long as their portion of the trust is untouched well … I think you understand where I’m coming from. Goodman’s children suing just sits wrong with me.

  11. snoopysleuth says:

    Cali~ ~I know what you meant about the children. If they have 5 million they want 10. Old Goodman is using the adopted daughter to stash some of his wealth so it cannot be touched by the courts. Bob Ward, the other rich dude padded his girls accounts as well as a few relatives so his creditors couldn’t touch his monies when he got sued.

  12. shyloh says:

    This is just a strange situation. I have a feeling this man is going to lose all around. You can’t tell me his “adopted daughter” “girlfriend” will stick around for long. I pray the kids get all they are going after. It serves him right. I feel he knew darn good an well she should of called 911, but NO he had to what, call for advice? What an idiot. But then again. IT’S FLORIDA!!!!!!!!!!! If I ever decide to “kill” anyone. I am moving there. So help me God!

  13. cali patti says:

    Thanks Snoop, I’m sick of kids being ungrateful, so thats my slanted view on this case.

  14. snoopysleuth says:

    Shyloh~~Ms Hutchins is an attractive young woman. You can rest assured that she is not going to sit around knitting while her ‘Daddy’ cools his heels in prison. I would love to see her take the money in her trust and run. With all the evidence, I cannot see Goodman getting off. His blood alcohol was twice over the limit for driving. He still knew right from wrong. He should have called 911 immediately. Those few minutes he called his girlfriend/daughter may have been the difference between life and death for young Wilson. I haven’t read any of the documents so don’t know if Goodman was injured in the crash. I did see a picture of his Bentley. Wilson’s vehicle was crushed. I think the cause of his death was drowning.

  15. snoopysleuth says:

    cali~~your views on these situations are just fine. I stand firm!

  16. snoopysleuth says:

    Here we go with the could have, would have, should have… what a crock of chit….

    WEST PALM BEACH — Wellington polo magnate John Goodman’s Bentley convertible could have malfunctioned just before the crash that killed 23-year old Scott Wilson.

    He could have suffered a concussion, other brain injury or amnesia that caused him to leave the scene of the crash and start drinking afterward to soothe his pain before he called 911 nearly an hour later.

    Read the rest of the article here…..

  17. snoopysleuth says:

    Something just crossed my mind and when I start thinking, the earth trembles. Here is some food for thought…

    Did Goodman buy the Adoption Agency? Why would they allow a man who has these charges against him to adopt an individual? Don’t they check out a potential parent? Single parent to boot. Goodman may end up in prison and not be in a position to be a good daddy to Heather Hutchins. Granted, Goodman is considered innocent until proven guilty but his blood alcohol was two times over the limit which proved he was a drunk driver. So, how come the Adoption Agency approved this adoption? Do they have a clause written in their rule book that if you adopt a person who is not a minor, anything goes?

  18. snoopysleuth says:

    The trial of John Goodman is set to begin Tuesday morning, March 13th. Here is a a run down of the jurors….

    By afternoon’s end the lawyers had picked a jury panel that includes two construction managers, an electrician whose wife is a school principal, a South Florida Water Management District worker and two retirees – a former accountant who boasted he’s only received three speeding tickets in more than 50 years as a driver and a retired biology teacher who also coached football.

    The two alternates are a woman who directs field trips for a preschool for low-income families and another woman who spends her time volunteering.

  19. snoopysleuth says:

    Probable Cause Affadavit-Pdf

    Goodman’s trust fund is worth 300 million. Heather gets 3 million in 2012.

    More documents here pertaining to the civil suit Wilson’s parents are filing for wrongful death against Goodman. There are 51 pages …

  20. shyloh says:

    Yea! I felt the earth tremble as you were thinking haha! That is a great thought. Maybe anything goes if one is an adult. But what about a teenager? Would they be allowed to adopt him/her out? I also would like to find the answer to that one.

  21. snoopysleuth says:

    Shyloh ~~I guess when they are filthy rich rules are bent and they can buy anything, even adopted daughters in this case.

    What gets my dander up in this case is the fact that Goodman was driving his $250,000 Bentley, and ran that stop sign and plowed into Wilson’s car. He was drunk and yet the police released him after he went to the hospital to get checked out. Any other impaired drunk would have been held overnight. Goodman hit Wilson and because he was drunk, he left the scene of the accident. He was able to walk almost a quarter of a mile to that trailer to get to a phone, yet he could not even check on Wilson whose vehicle was upside down in that ditch full of water. Goodman, even in his drunken state may have been able to help get Wilson out of the car before he drowned. Surely to God, he could have flagged down a car and get them to call 911. Time was of the essense at that time to try and save a life. Oh no, little rich boy was just thinking of his own skin.

    It was close to an hour before Goodman called 911. You can bet that Goodman has the very best lawyers and witnesses for his defense. Money talks and witnesses can stretch the truth when they take the stand. Being under oath and the truth does not amount to a hill of beans. I guess when you drive a Bentley, you can get away with murder. I hope your jurors bring in a guilty verdict and the rich man takes up residence in prison until he is almost seventy.

  22. snoopysleuth says:

    The civil suit that Wilson’s parents filed against Goodman has been settled out of court. It goes to show you what money can do eh? The civil trial was scheduled to take place near the end of this month.

  23. snoopysleuth says:

    Here is the kind of lawyer that only the rich can hire…. Roy Black will be representing Goodman.

  24. Karen C. says:

    On the creativity of defense attorneys- I was behind an accident once- a sports car with a selfish b@stard yuppie driving, got impatient and decided to bolt early from the red light we were stuck at. Unfortunately, a young boy on a bike riding same way as us on the shoulder at right, got startled and veered off in front of him and the car sent him sailing. Thank God for his helmet. I was directly behind Yuppie and saw the whole thing. He didn’t even get out to check the kid, whose father was just coming up from behind on his bike. A bunch of us got out to help the kid, deal with the Dad, call 911, etc. Yuppie stayed in his vehicle and CALLED HIS LAWYER. I know, because I came over to him to ask him what the Hell he’d been thinking, and I could hear Yuppie’s side of the conversation through his window, and HE said “Oh! So a bee was in the car and I’m allergic to bees!” That’s what Genius lawyer had come up with for him.

    When they called me to give me a massage ahead of Court proceedings I just let them have it, that their client was a pile of puke who made me sick to think of, and I’d heard clearly the whole phone conversation and the invention of the defense. Ooooh, that felt so good. Ended up settled out of Court, and Yup didn’t get any time but I understand it cost beaucoup bucks. After all, that was likely one expensive genius lawyer…..

  25. snoopysleuth says:

    Karen C~~yup, I know what you mean. The rich dudes only think of themselves and they are heartless. I guess that is why they say that money is the root of all evil.
    Goodman’s lawyer is going for Bentley malfuncitoned, he drank more to ease his pain and had amnesia. Goodman was checked out at the hospital but I don’t think he was diagnosed with having a concussion. At first he refused to give a blood sample but LE finally got one about 2 or 3 hrs after the crash and it was still over twice the limit. We will see if Roy Black can get him off. It wouldn’t surprise me if he does. They had a hard time to pick a jury because most of the potential jurors wanted to see him fried.

    Goodman settled the civil suit out of court with Wilson’s parents. The parents asked for 100 million. I heard they got $10,000,000 plus but the real amount was not disclosed. Money talks.

  26. snoopysleuth says:

    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Courtroom observers in the John Goodman case say lawyers on both sides will want to know if jurors are aware of the latest news headlines.

    Word of a confidential multi-million dollar civil settlement came last Friday, between Wellington polo mogul John Goodman and the family of Scott Wilson.

    The six member juries, plus two alternates, were seated Thursday evening, before news of the civil settlement broke.

    Jurors were sent home for a long weekend to await Tuesday’s opening statements DUI Manslaughter case.

    “It’s an elephant in the room,” said Legal Analyst Michelle Suskauer. “The timing of the release, or the leak, that there was a settlement is curious,” she said.

    Goodman is accused of driving drunk in February 2010, the night his car slammed into Wilson’s car. The impact sent Wilson’s vehicle into a canal where the 23-year-old drowned.

    Before Goodman’s criminal trial begins, the judge may want to question jurors about whether they know about the civil case settlement, even though if they do it would be an admission that they violated instructions to avoid all news coverage.

    Read more here….

    Potential impact of Goodman civil settlement on criminal case

  27. snoopysleuth says:

    We should hear the Opening Statements tomorrow, March 13th

  28. snoopysleuth says:

    Local 10’s Terrell Forney is covering the DUI-manslaughter trial of wealthy Palm Beacher John Goodman today. It’s an interesting television story but the farfetched story told at opening statements by defense attorney Roy Black is one for the books.

    The Polo-loving Goodman racked up a $212 bar tab at the Players Club just before the crash and witnesses say he was drinking there before before his black Bentley plowed through a stop sign and into a car driven by 23-year-old Scott Wilson, killing him.

    Yet Black said in his opening statement that Goodman was completely sober at the time of the crash. He told the jury that Goodman’s high-performance car malfunctioned to cause it to run the stop sign.

    Incredible, huh? But that’s not even the best part. Goodman’s blood was tested for alcohol three hours after the crash and it showed he had a blood-alcohol level at more than twice the legal limit. That finishes off the case right? Nope, Black said. He claimed that Goodman was knocked out in the crash, didn’t know that another car was involved, and woke up in pain. So what did he do? Why of course he walked to a polo player’s barn in the area and drank there to treat the pain. So he only started drinking after the crash.

    I would say that Roy Black should write fiction, but nobody would believe it.

  29. This is VERY interesting and shows you what some of these high paid lawyers (Roy Black) can do for their client.

    Goodman defense team seeks to impeach testimony of key witness

  30. They took the jurors down to the garage at the courthouse to view both the Bentley and Hyundi and then recessed for the lunch hour…you can watch it live stream here…

  31. The trial just recessed for the day. The defense is trying desperately to try and prove that Goodman was not drunk when his Bentley malfunctioned and accelerated and went thru the stop sign and hit Wilson’s car. They are also saying that Goodman drank after the crash to ease his pain and that is why his blood alcohol was twice the limit. I don’t know if they will convince the jurors. I did notice one thing that was strange. Goodman goes up to the bench with the lawyers when they have a sidebar.

  32. Here is a recap of the trial proceedings today. There is also a video of a simulation showing how the Bentley hit Wilson’s car knocking it into the canal. You can plainly see how the defense is trying to get Goodman off but they are a facing a tough and smart prosecution.,0,

  33. I love watching Ellen Roberts, the prosecutor in this trial. She is feisty and as sharp as a tack.

  34. Goodman’s defense team likely to rest its case Wednesday

    WEST PALM BEACH — There was a kiss between polo club founder John Goodman and Stacey Shore while they danced and talked at the Players Club one night two years ago.

    Goodman, Shore said, tried to get her to leave the club with him. She declined.

    “I have a policy,” she said. “If I know someone has had more than two or three drinks, I don’t go with them.”

    Shore in videotaped testimony played for a jury Tuesday said that although she would not leave with him, Goodman appeared “fine” to her when he left the club alone.

    Minutes after he left, Goodman slammed his Bentley into 23-year-old Scott Wilson’s Hyundai, pushing it into a nearby canal, where it overturned and Wilson drowned.

    On Tuesday, as defense testimony in Goodman’s DUI manslaughter trial neared an end, Shore said it wasn’t her place to judge whether Goodman was drunk or sober.

    Her testimony came after jurors heard from defense engineer Michael James Urban, who reconstructed the accident and made conclusions different than the ones offered by the lead investigator in Goodman’s case, Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy Troy Snelgrove.

    Read more here…..

  35. Jurors to resume deliberations at 8 a.m. Friday in Goodman DUI manslaughter case

  36. Jury had reached a verdict….. stay tuned….

  37. margaret says:

    You could just see his ego deflate as the verdict was read. Maybe the tide has turned in the justice department. Wouldn’t it be funny if his “3” children split the fortune and left country. Two perps off the streets today.. Good Day. Am anxiously wainting to see if Haliegh Dunn has been found.

  38. margaret says:

    I wonder if in his self centered, rotten mind has he ever thought that he should have checked on the car he hit to see if he could help that person. He knew he hit something and all he cared about was covering his behind, while this young man was trapped and drowning. He could at least have tried to save him, Even called 911. I hope he gets the full 30 years with no parole. I hope this young man shows up in his dreams every night. Why is it the drunk always walks away, unharmed, while the innocent are killed.?

  39. Margaret~ ~ while John Goodman is cooling his heels in jail, I wonder if his newly adopted daughter/girlfriend will stick around or take her trust money and run. She is due to get 5 million this year (2012) and a sizeable amount each year following.

  40. John Goodman’s sentencing is scheduled for April 30th.

  41. James says:

    He went from sugar daddy to daddy!!

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