A State Supreme Court jury at Daniel J. English's trial in the deaths of two men fishing at night on the Niagara River began deliberations this afternoon.
English faces charges that could send the auto repair shop manager to prison for up to 15 years.
English, 47, of Pearl Avenue, Blasdell, went on trial Oct. 11 in the July 27, 1995, deaths of Mark Guizzotti, 31, and Alexander Dann, 41, both of Niagara Street.
In addition to reckless manslaughter, the jury is considering felony assault and misdemeanor navigation charges and reduced felony charges of criminally negligent homicide.
Tuesday, Justice Penny M. Wolfgang agreed with a prosecution request to add negligent-homicide counts to the deliberations.
According to autopsy findings, both victims drowned but likely would have died anyway from injuries they suffered in the crash of English's boat with theirs east of Strawberry Island at about 12:30 a.m.
In closing arguments before Justice Wolfgang, defense attorney Herbert L. Greenman reminded the jury that no one else on the river saw a mandatory safety light on the anchored boat and insisted English was driving his boat prudently.
Prosecutor Thomas P. Franczyk told the jury that English was criminally negligent in driving his powerful boat at about 50 mph in a section of the river known to attract fishermen.