Are you aware of a "game" that involves splitting a bottle of vodka and pushing a drunken person who can't swim into a river?
Neither was the jury that convicted Billy Tyner of a manslaughter charge yesterday.
Defense attorneys for Tyner, 48, contended that their defendant had pushed 28-year-old Robert Lee Merritt into the New River in December 2009 as part of a "stupid game."
It didn't help Tyner's case that three sides of the story were presented to jurors in the case.
According to the Sun-Sentinel, prosecutors said Tyner pushed Merritt into the river after an argument over their vodka bottle, while defense said it was a game gone wrong, and Tyner himself later testified that Merritt accidentally fell into the river and that he tried to prevent him from falling.
A witness to the case, who was in charge of watching a yacht near where Merritt ended up in the water, said that the two were definitely arguing over a vodka bottle and that Tyner ended up pushing him in.
The witness said he came over and tried to pull Merritt out of the river while Tyner moseyed away. Merritt's body was recovered three days later, according to the Sentinel.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to New Times Broward-Palm Beach's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling South Florida's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Tyner faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison at his August 11 sentencing.