BRENTWOOD — A jury convicted a Hooksett man of two counts of negligent homicide for causing a passenger to fall out of his boat and die on Northwood Lake last July after a day of drinking with friends.
Eric Cable was ordered held without bail Thursday afternoon after a Rockingham County jury agreed he was intoxicated and negligently piloted his boat July 14, 2012, causing the death of Brendan Yerry, 28, of Hudson.
The announcement of the verdict prompted crying in the court gallery from both Yerry’s and Cable’s families in Rockingham County Superior Court.
Jurors returned with their decision around 4:20 p.m. and deliberated for roughly three hours.
Prosecutors and the defense sparred during the weeklong trial about whether there was enough proof that Cable, 34, was legally intoxicated.
Cable, who took the stand in his own defense, had started drinking on the morning of the incident and continued imbibing throughout the day while ferrying a group of friends to a sandbar on the lake, according to prosecutors.
“What he did was not acceptable, not even close,” Assistant County Attorney Jerome Blanchard. “It was a drunk day on the water.”
Blanchard argued that Cable’s actions were illegal from the outset because he was operating the boat without a license, and had no boater training.
Prosecutors said Yerry was illegally seated at the front of the 18-foot Crestliner when Cable turned the boat and collided with a wake. Yerry fell overboard and was struck by the boat’s drive and propeller.
He also dismissed suggestions by the defense that Cable bore no responsibility for where Yerry was seated.
Defense lawyer Peter Anderson argued that prosecutors lacked a conclusive blood-alcohol test near the time of the crash that proved his client was intoxicated.
“What did the state offer to you as evidence other than alcohol consumption (to prove) that Eric acted negligently and actually caused Brendan Yerry’s death?” he said.
Jurors heard that blood alcohol tests taken from Cable showed his blood-alcohol level at .04 and .03 about six hours after the incident.
A state expert testified that Cable had to have been intoxicated when Yerry fell from the boat.
Judge Marguerite Wageling agreed to revoke Cable’s bail pending his sentencing hearing.
Cable faces up to 7½ to 15 years in state prison for the conviction of negligent homicide/driving while intoxicated.