With his drunk driving manslaughter retrial officially set to begin in early 2014, Houston-raised billionaire John Goodman has been permitted by a Palm Beach County judge to visit his ailing mother at the Texas Medical Center.
The controversial polo king, who remains on house arrest at his south Florida mansion, was expected to arrive in Houston as early as Friday for a four-day trip.
Though originally only approved to take a commercial flight accompanied by four deputies, Palm Beach sheriffs have allowed Goodman to be escorted via chartered jet. County officials assure that the defendant is responsible for all travel costs as well as lodging and meal expenses.
Fellow billionaire convict Jeff Skilling could've only dreamt of such an arrangement. The Federal Bureau of Prisons barred him from attending his son's funeral.
Goodman has been holed up at his estate on a $4 million bond since spring of 2012, when a jury convicted him of DUI manslaughter in the death of 23-year-old engineering student Scott Wilson. The conviction was overturned because of the weird actions of one juror, who didn't reveal that his ex-wife had once been arrested on DUI charges.
The Palm Beach Post reports that, at one point, Goodman's mother had been living with her son at his estate. According to legal documents, however, 85-year-old Harriet Goodman is currently a patient at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, where she is undergoing treatments for an extremely aggressive neuroendocrine cancer.
A letter from a doctor submitted to the court says that Harriet Goodman only has three days to three weeks to live. John Goodman will get to say his final goodbyes to his mother.
The family of Scott Wilson got no such privilege. Driving a Bentley at a high speed, Goodman allegedly ran a stop sign and slammed into Scott Wilson's Hyundai and sent it into a nearby canal in Wellington, Fla., in February 2010. Goodman fled the scene of the accident, according to authorities. Wilson, an engineering graduate, drowned while strapped in his seatbelt