The trial of a man accused of watercraft homicide in a deadly Lake Tapps boating collision is shaping up to be a nasty fight about who was responsible for the wreck: The man charged with five crimes or the real estate agent who died.
Lawyers on both sides delivered their opening statements this morning in Pierce County Superior Court.
Deputy prosecutor Mark Sanchez told jurors the blame for the Sept. 29, 2008, collision clearly belongs to defendant Neil Richard Larsen, 43.
Larsen had been drinking alcohol and was speeding when his 22-foot ski boat slammed into and rode over an 18-foot Bayliner piloted by Ron Scott that night, Sanchez said.
The propeller from Larsen’s boat sliced into Scott, who fell into the water and drown. Four passengers on his craft suffered broken bones or severe lacerations. One woman’s leg was nearly amputated.
Larsen has pleaded not guilty to one count of watercraft homicide and four counts of watercraft assault.
“On that night, the defendant made a number of bad decisions, each one compounding the other,” Sanchez said.
Larsen’s attorney, Michael Schwartz, countered that Scott caused the wreck by parking his boat at the outlet of a narrow channel with its lights off. Scott was legally drunk at the time and had marijuana in his system, Schwartz told jurors.
“Ron Scott ignored all the rules of boater safety,” Schwartz said. “He turned that boat into a land mine.”
Testimony in the courtroom of Judge John McCarthy is expected to last for up to a month.
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