Guilty verdicts in Pineview boating death trial

Feb 15 2013 - 7:20am

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Robert Cole Boyer testifies Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, as his trial continued in 2nd District Court in Ogden with Judge Ernie Jones presiding. Boyer and Colton Raines are two of three men who were charged in a boating accident last summer on Pineview Reservoir that killed swimmer Esther Fujimoto. All three have been found guilty of the charges against them. (LEAH HOGSTEN/Pool photo)
Colton Raines testifies Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, as his trial continued in 2nd District Court in Ogden with Judge Ernie Jones presiding. Raines and Robert Cole Boyer are two of three men who were charged in a boating accident last summer on Pineview Reservoir that killed swimmer Esther Fujimoto. All three have been found guilty of the charges against them.  (LEAH HOGSTEN/Pool photo)
Robert Cole Boyer testifies Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, as his trial continued in 2nd District Court in Ogden with Judge Ernie Jones presiding. Boyer and Colton Raines are two of three men who were charged in a boating accident last summer on Pineview Reservoir that killed swimmer Esther Fujimoto. All three have been found guilty of the charges against them. (LEAH HOGSTEN/Pool photo)
Colton Raines testifies Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, as his trial continued in 2nd District Court in Ogden with Judge Ernie Jones presiding. Raines and Robert Cole Boyer are two of three men who were charged in a boating accident last summer on Pineview Reservoir that killed swimmer Esther Fujimoto. All three have been found guilty of the charges against them.  (LEAH HOGSTEN/Pool photo)

OGDEN -- A 2nd District Court jury found Colton Raines and Robert Cole Boyer guilty Thursday night of misdemeanor charges in the death of Esther Fujimoto.

Fujimoto was struck by a powerboat driven by Raines on Aug. 21, 2011, while she swam in Pineview Reservoir.

The jury got the case about 6:30 p.m. following a day of testimony and closing arguments and deliberated for about 90 minutes before returning with a verdict.

Raines and Boyer, as well as Skyler Shepherd, who was convicted in December, claimed they had no hint of the extent of Fujimoto's injuries after what they called a near-miss with her.

All three testified they saw no damage and that Fujimoto actually told them she was all right when they turned back to check on her. Only Raines testified to hearing a scream.

Fujimoto was slashed by the boat's propeller blade from the waist down, four bones cut, one leg nearly severed but for tissue holding it.

"The bottom line in this case is, what did these kids know when they pulled away from Esther," defense attorney Greg Skordas said in closing arguments. "They saw nothing. All the injuries were below the surface of the water.

"This is an accident," Skordas told the jury. "Like the State Medical Examiner said: Cause of death, accident.

"Bad things happen to good people. And not just Esther Fujimoto. ... But bad things have happened to these boys. They'll have to deal with what happened to her for the rest of their lives.

"The only way to make it worse is if you find these kids guilty of a crime they didn't commit."

Deputy Weber County Attorney Dean Saunders said in his closing arguments that "These guys can say all they want how they didn't know she was hurt, she didn't scream, whatever.

"But the best reliable evidence in this case is Vaughn Anderson. He is a hero to my mind. He hears her bloodcurdling screams and immediately goes to her aid."

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