Opening statements presented in punching death case - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Opening statements presented in punching death case

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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

Opening statements began on Tuesday in the trial of Benjamin Hawkins.

Hawkins is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the one-punch death of a Utah man after they exchanged words inside a casino bathroom.

John Massie, 46, was visiting O'Shea's Casino in 2011. According to Hawkins' defense attorney, Massie directed racial comments at Hawkins inside the casino bathroom. That altercation ended with Massie's death.

This happened on July 6, 2011 at approximately 12:46 a.m., when Metro police responded to a report of a man who was unconscious on the O'Shea's casino floor.

Several witnesses claimed Massie entered the casino bathroom, saw Hawkins and said, "And then there was a black man in a yellow shirt."

Both parties left the restroom. According to reports, Hawkins punched Massie in the face, killing him. His death was ruled a result of blunt force trauma. 

Among the witnesses called to the stand was John Massie's daughter, Crystal Massie.

Crystal Massie recalled seeing her father at her wedding, a month before he died. She claims he was a friendly man and not at all racist.  

Surveillance video captured outside of the restroom is expected to be presented in court.

If convicted, Hawkins could face probation or up to four years in prison.

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