The state concluded its case Tuesday against Jeffrey Hubbard, an Atlanta man accused of homicide in the boating death of 11-year-old Kile Glover.
The state’s final witness was Marsha Glover, the stepmother of Kile, and an eyewitness aboard the pontoon boat in the moments before the crash between Hubbard’s personal watercraft and the kids on a tube, attached to the pontoon by a ski rope.
“I saw Jeff coming in as if he was coming directly towards the boat,” Glover said. “Before I knew it, there was a big cloud of water that splashed all over us.”
Another adult on the pontoon, in an immediate assessment of the situation, said to her, “The kids are in the water.”
Hubbard has been on trial in Hall County Superior Court since Feb. 10. Testimony began Feb. 11 and resumed Friday after inclement weather.
He is charged with homicide by vessel and serious injury by vessel, as well as misdemeanor boating charges, in connection with his alleged role in a July 6, 2012, collision on Lake Lanier that caused the death of Kile and seriously injured Jordan Shepp, then 15.
Kile was the son of Tameka Foster and Ryan Glover, president of Bounce TV. Kile was the stepson of entertainer Usher.
Marsha Glover gave emotional testimony, her voice less steady as she recalled the crash and its chaotic aftermath. She had described a close relationship with Kile. She said he referred to her as his second mom.
A registered nurse, Glover said her inability to help treat Kile haunts her.
“That’s the one thing I’ll remember for the rest of my life. I couldn’t swim, so I couldn’t do anything,” Glover said, through tears.
The defense begins its case this morning. Hubbard’s defense, led by Gainesville attorney Jeffery Talley, has focused many cross-examination questions on boating navigation rules, reconstruction of the incident and the Department of Natural Resources’ investigation.
Talley asked Sgt. Steve Seitz, lead investigator of the incident, about his handling of the evidence in the case, including the kids’ life vests.
“You let some of the evidence get away — correct?” Talley asked.
“We got what we were able to get,” Seitz said.
Talley asserted in his opening statement that the investigation was botched. As the case has unfolded, a key witness for the defense’s case could be boating and collision reconstruction expert Phil Odom, who has taken notes behind the defense team since the trial’s start.
In a taped interview with a DNR investigator played during court, Marsha Glover offered her insight in the criminal investigation, where parties had considered one another friends, and agree there was no intent or malice on Hubbard’s part.
“Accidents happen. My thing is ... to me it’s not an accident. It was negligence,” Glover said. “I’m in health care and I know the difference between an accident and negligence.”
Sounding resentful that Hubbard had been on the trip in the first place, Glover said she wanted Hubbard to take responsibility.
“I’ve forgiven Jeff, but I want him to be accountable. And that’s all we’re asking for.”