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Tampa jury finds man guilty in Alafia River boating crash that killed girl, 12

A jury found Andrew Miltner guilty of vessel homicide but rejected drunken-boating charges.
Jasina Campbell, 12, was killed May 17, 2020, in a crash on the Alafia River. A jury found Andrew Miltner guilty of a vessel homicide charge in her death.
Jasina Campbell, 12, was killed May 17, 2020, in a crash on the Alafia River. A jury found Andrew Miltner guilty of a vessel homicide charge in her death. [ Courtesy of the Campbell family ]
Published Aug. 18|Updated Aug. 18

TAMPA — A jury deliberated for close to four hours Wednesday before finding Andrew Miltner guilty of vessel homicide in the death of 12-year-old Jasina Campbell.

But the same jury found Miltner not guilty of charges that he was drunk when he piloted a personal watercraft on the Alafia River and ran over a raft carrying Jasina and another girl.

The jury returned its verdict a little before 3 p.m. Wednesday. Miltner, 42, who had been free on bail, was jailed after the verdict. He is set to be sentenced Sept. 1.

In the three-day trial, Miltner’s defense argued that the May 17, 2020, collision was a tragic accident, not a crime.

Andrew Miltner was found guilty of a charge of vessel homicide.
Andrew Miltner was found guilty of a charge of vessel homicide. [ Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office ]

Miltner was riding the watercraft early that evening after a day on the water with a group of people who rode a small boat called Phoenix. Jasina and another girl sat in an inflatable tube that was being towed behind the boat on a narrow stretch of the river, east of U.S. 301.

Witnesses described seeing the watercraft speed around a river bend before coming down on the raft with a bang. The two girls vanished beneath the water. The other girl surfaced soon after. But a Sheriff’s Office dive team found Jasina submerged about 35 minutes after the crash.

Related: Trial recounts horror of Alafia River crash that killed 12-year-old

The defense told the jury another man on the back of the watercraft had pulled on Miltner, causing him to go full throttle.

Prosecutors argued that Miltner’s actions were reckless.

The vessel homicide conviction could carry as much as 15 years in prison.

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