Defendant testifies on 3rd day of Strip-punching death trial - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Defendant testifies on 3rd day of Strip-punching death trial

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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

Testifying at his own involuntary manslaughter trial, former Florida high school teacher Benjamin Hawkins retold what happened the moments before he punched John Massie inside the O'Sheas casino on July 6, 2011.

"His exact words were, 'I've got something for your ass,'" Hawkins told the jury what Massie said to him just before he threw the punch.

But Hawkins said before he punched him, Massie was continually harassing him inside the men's room.

"He said: 'and then there was a black guy in a yellow shirt,'" Hawkins testified Thursday.

Hawkins also claimed Massie slapped him on the chest and the back while he was trying to wash his hands at the sink.

"He walks up to me and he basically says: ‘Like what's the deal with you black guys in these yellow shirts?'" Hawkins told the jury.

But prosecutors pointed out two other witnesses in the bathroom did not testify to any interaction between Hawkins and Massie by the sink.

Prosecutors also said that Hawkins himself told police a different story that night.

"Do you remember telling them that he never even touched you?" a prosecutor questioned Hawkins.

"I don't remember it, but if it's in (the arrest report) I must have said it," Hawkins responded on the stand.

Surveillance video from July 2011 shows once out of the rest room Hawkins walked past Massie with his hands in his pockets before turning and hitting him.

Massie, who worked at Hill Air Force Base north of Salt Lake City, did not survive.

"Cause of death is due to blunt force trauma of the head due to fall due to physical altercation," testified Dr. Gary Telgemhoff, a medical examiner with the Clark County Coroner's Office.

Hawkins stated he never felt angry, but instead was threatened and feared what Massie would do.

"The last thing I wanted to do was harm anyone or even get into a fight. But I just didn't want him to harm me," Hawkins told the jury.

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