By Kevin Deutsch
John Serino, the Parkland resident, charged with vehicular homicide in the crash that killed his passenger— and who tested positive for opioids and illegally high alcohol concentrations after the wreck—recently won two key motions in his court case, legal records show.
Serino, CEO of the Coral Springs-based The Original Frameless Shower Doors company, was speeding on West Sunrise Boulevard on April 24, 2021, when he crashed his Ferrari in a rollover accident while under the influence, killing passenger Victor Battaglia, a 54-year-old father of four, according to police records.
Serino’s lawyers recently filed two successful motions in his case: one to force law enforcement to turn over Serino’s second cellphone, seized by authorities following his Sept. 30 arrest, into the hands of a neutral third party; and another allowing Robert Crispin, an investigator working on Serino’s behalf, to be present during law enforcement fingerprinting of Serino’s totaled sports car, court records show.
Shortly after Serino crashed his gray 2019 812 Superfast Ferrari in Sunrise, law enforcement seized his first cellphone and downloaded all of its information, presumably accessing its contents “whether there was personal, private, confidential or attorney-client privileged contained therein” or not, his lawyers wrote in the first successful motion.
Serino was not arrested until roughly five months after the crash, at which time authorities seized his second cellphone and a search warrant approved for its contents, court records show.
Prosecutors informed Serino’s lawyers that his second phone was in the possession of the Broward Sheriff’s Office. According to court filings, they proposed a procedure to have his lawyers view its contents and protect any legally privileged material.
But Serino’s lawyers objected to BSO “acting as the neutral and detached ‘gatekeeper’” of the phone, the records show. According to the filings, they requested the judge in the case order BSO to turn over all materials relating to the second phone to an acceptable third party.
In his December order granting the motion, Broward Circuit Judge Michael Usan wrote that BSO is “directed to not view the downloaded materials from [Serino’s] ‘second’ cellular telephone.”
Usan permitted BSO to retain a copy of the phone’s downloaded materials. He also ordered the agency to turn over a copy of those materials to Serino’s lawyers, the records show.
In their other successful motion, Serino’s lawyers won a motion preventing BSO from lifting any fingerprinting from Serino’s Ferrari, including off its steering wheel, without a representative from Serino’s legal team being present.
His attorneys called the fingerprints “potentially critical defense evidence” and argued the prosecution’s attempts to exclude them from the scene of the fingerprint process lacked legal justification.
Usan said Crispin can be present during the fingerprinting process but cannot take photographs or digital recordings in his order granting the motion.
Serino faces multiple charges, including DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide, DUI with property damage, and reckless driving with property damage, records show.
In a separate civil case, Serino has filed court papers in Broward County alleging he was served “chemically altered” or “drugged” drinks in the $800-per person VIP section of Scarlett’s Cabaret, a strip club in Hallandale Beach, where he and Battaglia were hanging out before the crash.
Before that, the men were drinking at Blue Martini in Fort Lauderdale, according to police.
“The last thing [Serino] remembered was the clock inside the Ferrari showing the time was around 12 a.m. as he was driving,” police wrote in their crash report. “Serino stated that he does not recall what happened, only that he awoke inside the Ferrari and that it had been in an accident. Serino advised he was able to free himself and exit the vehicle.”
Serino told police he stumbled out of the car and made his way toward the roadway, where police and paramedics later found him.
After Sunrise Police took Serino into custody in Parkland on Sept. 30, detectives said they brought him to an interview room, where Serino “clarified that he wanted to make a statement without his attorney being present” and “made several incriminating statements” about the crash, according to police records.
Serino has pleaded not guilty to all charges and is currently free on a $1 million bond.
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- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.
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