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article imageFlorida man, 48, adopts 42-year-old girlfriend

By Arthur Weinreb     Feb 3, 2012 in World
John Goodman adopted his girlfriend as his daughter just months before facing a DUI manslaughter trial as well as a wrongful death lawsuit.
John B. Goodman has a lot of money. The founder of the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida, legally adopted Heather Hutchins whom he has been dating since 2009. The adoption was finalized in Miami-Date County on Oct. 11, 2011.
The fact of the adoption came to light as part of a wrongful death suit launched against Goodman. Lili and William Watson are suing the polo club founder over the death of their son in February 2010. Scott Patrick Watson, 23, was killed after being involved in a motor vehicle accident with Goodman. Goodman was later charged with driving drunk at the time of the crash.
County Court Judge Glenn Kelley ordered the Wilsons be provided with details of the adoption. As reported by Fox News, Kelley wrote, The events which serve as the grounds for the relief sought by the Plaintiffs borders on the surreal and takes the Court into a legal twilight zone.
Kelley had already ruled that assets put into a trust fund for Goodman's original two children were protected from use in satisfying any civil judgment awarded in the wrongful death suit. Now those funds will be divided among Goodman's "three" children.
The attorney for William Wilson, Scott Smith, was quoted in the Palm Beach Post as saying, By way of the adoption, John Goodman now effectively owns one third of the trust assets. It cannot go unrecognized that he chose to adopt his 42-year-old adult girlfriend as opposed to a needy child.
Under the terms of the trust, the assets cannot be touched by Goodman's children until they reach the age of 35. Because Hutchins is 42, she can dispose of her share of the assets at the direction of her boyfriend/father.
Goodman's attorney in the civil suit, Dan Bachia, told the paper that the adoption of Hutchins was done "to ensure the future stability of his children."It has nothing to do with the lawsuit currently pending against him.
The crash occurred on Feb. 12, 2010. The allegations against Goodman, as set out in the Sun Sentinel, are that at about 1 a.m., Goodman raced through a stop sign going 63 miles per hour and struck Wilson's vehicle. The force of the impact drove the young man's car into a canal. Goodman then merely walked away leaving Wilson to drown in his submerged vehicle, belted in.
Goodman walked to a home, borrowed a cell phone, and called his girlfriend. He then asked the person who lent him the phone if he appeared drunk. About an hour after the accident, he called 911.
Police allege that Goodman had a blood alcohol level of .177; more than twice the legal limit in Florida.
In May, 2010, Goodman was formally charged with DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide. The trial is set for March 6 and if convicted. he could spend up to 30 years in jail.
The fact that his girlfriend is now his daughter does not mean Goodman cannot continue his sexual relationship with her or even marry her. Under section 826.04 of the Florida Statutes, the crime of incest is confined to blood relationships.
More about john goodman, heather hutchins, scott patrick wilson, DUI, florida adoption law
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