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Boating Death Conviction Reinstated

The state Supreme Court reinstated a man's homicide conviction in a fatal motorboat accident on Lake Geneva.

The high court says a circuit court was correct in telling a
jury they could decide the defendant was drunk when swimmer Traci
Paladino was killed -- even though a blood alcohol test wasn't done
for seven hours.

State law says blood tests taken more than three hours after an
incident are admissible in court only if they're paired with
testimony by an expert.

Peter Fonte, of Virginia Beach, Virginia was convicted in 2002
of homicide by driving drunk. Prosecutors said he was drunk when he
ran his motorboat over Paladino who was swimming in Lake Geneva in
July 2001.

Fonte was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison. He
argued on appeal that jury instructions didn't mention the test
results had to be accompanied by expert testimony. He argued they
simply said the jury could find he was drunk.

The Second District appeals court threw out his conviction last
August.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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