Charges reduced for man arrested in Strip killing - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Charges reduced for man arrested in Strip killing

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Benjamin Hawkins (LVMPD) Benjamin Hawkins (LVMPD)

Charges against a Florida man accused in the killing of a fellow tourist on the Las Vegas Strip last summer have been reduced from murder to involuntary manslaughter.

37-year-old Benjamin Hawkins, who appeared in court Tuesday, faces felony arraignment on March 23.

Hawkins told police he was angered over racially-charged comments made by the victim. That's according to Hawkins' arrest report. He was arrested in July at the O'Sheas casino.

The victim, identified by police as John Massie, made a comment about a "black man in a yellow shirt" when he saw Hawkins in the casino restroom, Hawkins said in the report.

When the two met again outside of the restroom, Massie "put his hands in his pockets and said something to Hawkins," according to police.

Hawkins told police he said something to Massie and then turned to walk away.

At that point, police said Hawkins turned back around and punched Massie in the left side of his face.

Massie fell flat on his back and didn't move. He was pronounced dead a short time later at Desert Springs Hospital.

Hawkins said he feared Massie would hit him after he turned away, "so he punched Massie one time in the jaw," according to the report.

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