• Charter Captain Sails Free After Acquittal



    Rick Smith had been charged in connection with the death of a crew member, David Pontious, who jumped overboard during a passage to the Virgin Islands in 2015.

    Camden charter boat captain Rick Smith is free after a federal judge acquitted him Wednesday of seaman’s manslaughter in connection with the death of a crew member in 2015.

    Judge Curtis Gomez in the U.S. District Court of the Virgin Islands granted a motion for judgment of acquittal that had been filed by Smith’s attorney the day before.

    “This was an unusual resolution but a great result for Rick,” Sheesley said by phone.

    Smith, 66, had been charged with negligence contributing to the death of David Pontious, a crew member aboard Smith’s sailboat, Cimarron, in October 2015.

    Pontious, 54, of Beaufort, North Carolina, was one of three crew members who were helping Smith sail the 43-foot yawl from Maine to the Virgin Islands, something the captain had done every year for a decade.

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