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Mass. man acquitted in friend’s boating death

November 21, 2013

MARSHFIELD, Mass. (AP) — A 24-year-old Marshfield man has been acquitted of drunken boating in an accident that killed his best friend.

The Patriot Ledger reports (http://bit.ly/I7yrR1) a Plymouth District Court jury found Justin McDonald not guilty Wednesday.

Twenty-three-year-old Stephen Woods died when he was thrown from a boat McDonald was driving in 2011. McDonald also fell into the water but was rescued. Woods’ body was found two weeks later.

McDonald’s attorney Gregory Sullivan said witness testimony that his client appeared in hypothermic shock, which mimics intoxication, helped win the case.

Investigators found a faulty steering mechanism caused the boat to circle out of control. Police said Woods told them he had 10 beers that day but wasn’t drunk.

Sullivan said Woods’ family has been supportive of McDonald. Woods’ father told the newspaper after the accident McDonald “is welcome any time.”

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Information from: The (Quincy, Mass.) Patriot Ledger, http://www.patriotledger.com

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