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Winston Wood Guilty On All Counts In Boating Accident

Winston Woods family waits to enter court room for final verdict.

A jury Thursday rendered a verdict of guilty on all three counts in the trial of Monroe Lake boater Winston Wood.

“It’s not really that we’re happy about any of it, because nothing will change,” says Erika Collier — the daughter of Rusty Collier and the late Susan Collier, following Wood’s conviction on three counts Thursday. 

A jury found Wood guilty of leaving the scene of a June, 2010 boat crash.  Injuries sustained by Susan Collier and her grandson Gage Pruett during the crash eventually took their lives. 

“They’ll always be gone, but still knowing that the right thing was not done— it definitely helps,” says Collier.

Following the verdict, Monroe County Deputy Prosecutor Bob Miller said he believed the jury made the right decision not to accept a closing argument by the defense that Wood and his two shipmates were simply scared when they left Susan Collier in the water following the collision.

“Obviously, the totality of the circumstances of this case were clear that he did not fulfill his legal and perhaps more importantly his moral duty to fellow human beings under the circumstances,” adds Miller.

Defense Attorney Fred Vaiana says Wood is dealing with the verdict the best he can. “We are disappointed there are no winners in this case—it’s a tragedy, while we disagree with the verdict we respect it,” says Vaiana.

The jury of 11 women and one man deliberated for five hours before reaching their verdict.

Wood faces a maximum sentence of 19 years, but his jail term won’t be determined until a sentencing hearing later this year. That date will be determined by Judge Jane Craney, who couldn’t attend the reading of the verdict because she’d been in a car accident earlier in the trial.

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