Camden charter boat captain cleared of manslaughter in death of crew man

By  | 

CAMDEN, Maine (WABI) - A charter boat captain who sails part of the year out of Camden has been acquitted for the death of one of his crewmen.

65-year-old Richard Smith of St. John has been on trial this week in the Virgin Islands.

He was charged in federal court with seaman's manslaughter.

The Portland Press Herald reports the judge granted an acquittal filed by Smith's lawyer.

It was based on the issue that seaman's manslaughter applies to commercial vessels and there were no customers or cargo on Smith's sail boat when his crew man, David Pontious, died.

Smith owns the Cimarron, which spends summers in Maine.

In October of 2015, the boat was heading from North Carolina to St. John.

Pontious was sick and disoriented, then jumped overboard and died.

Prosecutors argued Smith failed to help Pontious.