FLORIDA'S JOHN B. GOODMAN
IS NOT GUILTY
PART 1 of 3
By Joseph Snook Investigative Journalist
September 12, 2014
John Goodman Polo Mogul
Palm Beach, Florida - Guilt is supposed to be determined
by an impartial jury of our peers. Today,
however, guilt is generally assumed upon the reading of charges
and state-authorized and released details in the local daily paper,
tabloids if you're “worthy” enough, and/or online on
Facebook or Twitter. This poisoning of the jury pool is a delight
to every prosecutor's office across the country. However, fact is
often very different to the state's accounting of the details and
once revealed paints a much different picture, often resulting in
a truth-based perception that the charged person is not guilty or
in other words, innocent.
Photo: John Goodman © The Palm Beach Post/ZUMA
Now, you will finally be able to read about “Polo Mogul” John Goodman's case from a significantly unique perspective based on the evidence. This is not what the assigned West Palm Beach Prosecutors and a few deputies have reported to the mainstream media to pass on to the public. This reporting is the result of months of digging through evidence, testimony and communication with eye-witnesses and experts. More-so, when the research began, the presumption was that Goodman was guilty. What I uncovered was that there is more than enough evidence to elicit a preponderance of innocence, not guilt; and that unless the state continually lies about the facts, or the jurists have a vendetta to convict, Goodman cannot be found guilty. Quite simply, there is no definitive evidence that can be considered beyond a reasonable doubt in favor of a guilty verdict, it is quite the opposite. Remember, the burden of proof is the states, not Mr. Goodman's.
The John Goodman Case:
On February 12, 2010 John Goodman, 47, was returning home from a YMCA charity event, then a dinner/social function, when his car suddenly collided with another vehicle driven by 23-year-old Scott Wilson. The events that followed tragically ended the life of Wilson, and have left John Goodman fighting for his innocence - for the second time in almost four years. The evidence obtained in this case gives convincing details of how Sheriff's Deputies Ricardo Safford and Troy Snelgrove, along with Prosecutors Ellen Roberts (retired) and Sherri Collins allegedly committed crimes - revealing they had lied, withheld exculpatory evidence, threatened one law enforcement officer to not testify (would hurt the states’ case), willfully and negligently destroyed key evidence, obstructed justice, failed to render aid, and possibly accepted what could amount to bribes.
John Goodman was originally convicted of DUI Manslaughter/Failure to Render Aid and Vehicular Homicide/Failure to Render Aid on March 23, 2012. Legal experts have stated that trial errors “warranted a new trial” and most likely would have resulted in a successful appeal, however, juror misconduct was discovered. Having kept John Goodman from receiving a review by an impartial jury, Goodman secured the right to a new trial, currently scheduled for Oct. 6, 2014. This trial is supposed to take place as if the first trial's outcome did not even exist, and Goodman is once again facing his charges which carry a reported 30-year sentence, if convicted.
The accident occurred shortly before 1:00 am on a dark February night. There were no eye-witnesses. The road conditions were normal, and the weather was reported to be in the 50's. Visibility was an issue due to the accident’s rural location combined with a thumbnail moon. This made it difficult to see, which was expressed by two post-crash witnesses who called 911, and several other responders. In fact, five people claimed to have not seen Scott Wilson's car initially, as it was turned upside down, mostly under water in a nearby canal.
Goodman hit his head as a result of the collision, losing consciousness. When he "came-to" he was incredibly "disoriented" and concussed by the sheer momentum of the accident. The prosecution claims Goodman was traveling around 63 mph at impact. The previous defense claimed "between 49 - 58" mph. Assuming either of those speeds, impact would cause someone's head to be extremely jarred, at the very least. Goodman also sustained a wrist fracture, a "questionable fracture of the sternum" with "soft tissue swelling," and a laceration and hematoma above his left eye. Goodman was transported to Wellington Regional Hospital, where he received medical attention by Dr. Adam Bromberg who confirmed Goodman's injuries.
Through analysis of the skid marks, Scott Wilson's car spun violently after the collision. According to the prosecution in Goodman's initial trial, Scott Wilson died as a result of drowning. Wilson's car was found just minutes after the accident by the fourth bystander to arrive on the scene – everyone else had not seen his car. Approximately 5 minutes later the sheriff's deputies arrived, but the responding deputies, and fire and rescue failed to find Wilson until 2:31:52 a.m. Why? It took authorities nearly an hour and a half after arriving on scene, fully aware of where Wilson's vehicle was, before his body was discovered. The canal was shallow enough that the Hyundai Scott Wilson was driving had its back tires sticking out of the water according to witnesses.
The prosecution has, and will again paint a picture that John Goodman, whose blood alcohol level was allegedly above the legal limit, was drunk at the time of the accident; that he was the sole cause of the crash; that he stood there callously watching Wilson's car sink and then fled into the night. Case closed, right?
Not so fast.
To claim 1st degree vehicular homicide, the prosecution must prove that Goodman caused Wilson's death by, “... the operation of a motor vehicle ... in a reckless manner likely to cause the death ...” and that, “At the time of the accident, the person [Goodman] knew, or should have known, that the accident occurred; and … The person [Goodman] failed to give information and render aid as required by s. 316.062.”
John Goodman was driving a 2007 Bentley GTC when the accident occurred. During the first trial Goodman's defense claimed that his vehicle "surged" without him manually employing the throttle, which led to the collision. The reported speed at impact, by both the prosecution and the defense experts, clearly suggests that Goodman never "stopped" at the stop sign. But, according to the state provided 911 transcripts, John Goodman told 911 dispatch that he had stopped. Could he have suffered a concussion and not known exactly what happened? Absolutely.
Have you ever been in a collision at 50+ mph? The likelihood of “trauma,” not to mention misstated details of events is highly plausible.
So, could a Bentley surge out of control? After looking at online forums, and many hours spent talking with people who could possibly answer this question - I found a logical answer. I talked to a technician at Carrera (Porsche) Motors. He stated he has "worked on Bentley's in the past." At first he laughed at the probability that a Bentley, known as one of the world's most prestigious automobile manufacturers, could possibly surge. Then, I explained the circumstances. Later, his laugh became an "ahh!" after he looked further into the issue. During our second conversation he stated, "there is an electronic control unit (ECU) or module that has proven to be a big problem for this year, make and model when it gets wet." He continued, "there are currently 79 Bentley GT's (including GTC's) for sale in the U.S., and one of them lists that the ECU needs replaced." He also stated that this module, if compromised, could possibly cause the vehicle to "advance uncontrollably."
One certified technician verified that this issue exists, but I was still not entirely convinced. Next, I went to another exotic vehicle (vehicle type omitted intentionally) certified technician who has worked on "hundreds of Bentleys." He explained in detail the issues that can arise from this particular module failing. The tech informed me that this particular module controls "air, fuel" and yes, "ACCELERATION." He stated that Toyota, VW (owns Bentley), GM, Lexus and other manufacturers have had similar problems. He continued, "Toyota has manufactured vehicles where it was estimated that 140 out of every one million cars would result in sudden accelerations. Was it unlikely to happen, yes, but did it happen, yes." Although the cause of the malfunction in Toyota was different than what has been reported in Bentley, the result is likely the same, possible surging. Bentley is obviously nowhere near as common of a vehicle as Toyota, so this issue is definitely not as common with Bentley, but it still exists, according the tech.
I was informed by the tech that vehicle manufacturers utilize what is known as "Technical Service Bulletins" (TSB) to inform tech's how to fix certain problems. He stated that he has worked on roughly 200 Bentley's that were the same year, make, and model as Mr. Goodman's. He said it is common for tech's to print these bulletins and keep them in a readily accessible folder to refer back to when servicing each vehicle. He recalled fixing three Bentley's where the same particular module as Mr. Goodman's was compromised, each time, using the TSB to accurately fix the problem. But the problem that exists today - that particular TSB is nowhere to be found online according to both tech's I talked with. The second technician believes that he knows someone who has that particular bulletin, but he was fearful of coming forward with that document, afraid he would never be able to retain employment in his line of work again. Apparently, Bentley did go to great lengths to keep this information private, according to the tech. He informed me that Bentley can also "update their bulletins, or delete them entirely."
Why would Bentley do this? Could Mr. Goodman's case be the cause of why this information was allegedly deleted? Could a $40 million insurance (6 million more paid by another source) payout to Scott Wilson's family be an incentive to keep this a "hush-hush" issue with Bentley? Bentley would assuredly have liability if it was ever proven that Goodman's car surged.
second technician I spoke with gave very compelling details. It
would be very wise of Goodman's defense to utilize his knowledge
to educate the jurors on all of the very technical information during
the next trial.
Former Prosecutor Ellen Roberts © The Palm Beach Post/ZUMA
Presumably, Bentley will be supplying their own "expert" for the prosecution during Goodman's upcoming trial. You can bet they will be doing everything possible to protect their prestigious name.
It has also been reported that former Prosecutor Ellen Roberts knew that Deputy Snelgrove had been given information by Bentley that suggested 5 or 6 other people had the same issues that Goodman's defense claimed, but she reportedly did not disclose this information to the Defense. Is this withholding exculpatory evidence?
So, what about that Bentley Goodman was driving on the night of the accident?
The new defense won't be able to examine that Bentley. The defense experts won't be able to examine it either, prohibiting their ability to conduct many necessary tests. Most importantly, the jury will not see the Bentley. They won't see the reportedly problematic $5,000.00 module, which, by the way, was NOT replaced on Goodman's vehicle according to service records (1, 2). Arguably, the jury won't have the single most important piece of evidence to help them make an informed decision that could cost Goodman 30 years of his life.
Why not just get the Bentley back?
Mr. Goodman's Bentley has been scrapped, sold for parts and is currently in the hands of its third owner since former Prosecutor Ellen Roberts released it from the state's custody. Ask almost any attorney and they'll tell you that ALL evidence should be preserved pending any appeals in a criminal case. So, why would a "seasoned" prosecutor like Roberts do such a thing?
Ellen Roberts' email
According to emails obtained, and witnesses, the state's prosecutor, Ellen Roberts, had a very close relationship with the Wilson Family's civil Attorney Scott B. Smith of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey and Fronrath, sharing all sorts of information, well before Goodman's first trail was over. In fact, Roberts retired shortly after Goodman's trial and took a job with the firm (Scott B. Smith) who represented the Wilsons. Could that be considered prosecutorial misconduct? Could Ellen have been guaranteed a spiff for her help?
Could Bentley have encouraged Robert's to dispose of Goodman's vehicle? Could the Wilson's civil attorney have coordinated this? There is no excuse for her actions when it pertains to getting rid of crucial legal evidence.
According to the Florida Bar, Ellen Roberts presumably violated her duty to preserve evidence:
"...courts cannot tolerate the wrongful destruction of relevant evidence if litigation is reasonably foreseeable. By so doing, courts undermine the foundation of the legal system and destroy public confidence in our judicial process, which depends on the evidence." --Florida Bar
What about Scott Wilson and his vehicle? Was he really going the speed limit? How many driving violations did Wilson have prior to this accident? Why was his speedometer displaying 120 mph after it was pulled out of the canal? Why were his headlights in the "off" position? Could he have had any culpability in the crash itself? Wilson's phone records suggest he may have been preoccupied with his cellular phone at the time of the accident.
SIMPLY, THERE IS NOT ENOUGH VALID EVIDENCE TO PROVE GOODMAN OPERATED HIS VEHICLE IN A RECKLESS MANNER.
Don't forget to read Part 2 of Florida's John B. Goodman Not Guilty!
The evidence in this case justifies a "Not Guilty" verdict. It is the state's burden to prove Goodman's guilt, and they have failed miserably to do so.
Editors Note: For those who still have doubt, or would like to see something that is not made available through our hyperlinks, please email: [email protected]. We will gladly supply you with more evidence. For part two click below.
© 2014 Joe Snook - All Rights Reserved
Snook is an investigative journalist for US Observer.
E-Mail: [email protected]