Camden Charter Boat Captain Acquitted Of Manslaughter Charge In Unusual Case

Jan 11, 2019

A federal judge has acquitted a Camden charter boat captain of a seaman's manslaughter in connection with the death of a crew member who jumped overboard during a trip to the Caribbean.

Judge Curtis Gomez of the U.S. District Court of the Virgin Islands granted the acquittal Wednesday.

Captain Rick Smith says the judge ruled that the charge did not apply in this case because he was not operating a commercial vessel. Smith spoke with Nora Flaherty on Maine Things Considered.

Smith says that while he doesn't understand why the federal government pursued the case, he fully expected to go to jail.

“Because they had so many witnesses, and so much money had been spent, and the government was pretty certain that they were going to win, even though we had done the right thing, and I had great lawyers, it's pretty hard to win against the federal government,” Smith says.

Smith was charged in connection with the death of crewman David Pontious. He says Pontious had been seeing and hearing things, attempted to choke Smith and repeatedly tried to take over the helm before jumping off the side of the boat.

Originally published Jan. 10, 2019 at 5:11 p.m. ET.