Benjamin Gerard Hawkins, Gainsville, Florida (arrested July 2011) [manslaughter]

Discussion in 'Other Improper Behaviors' started by TMP, Dec 2, 2012.

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    Hawkins Benjamin G.jpg

    Benjamin Gerard Hawkins, 38, teacher & assistant football coach at Bradford County High School [Bradford County School District], Gainsville, Florida, "charged with murder in connection with an incident captured by surveillance cameras at O'Sheas Las Vegas Casino"

    Gainsville Sun: Man charged in Las Vegas casino death is a Bradford teacher/coach (July 7 2011)

    According to Las Vegas police reports, the incident between Hawkins, who is black, and John Massie, who is white, began in a restroom and then moved to the casino's food court. "Massie made some comment to Hawkins to the effect of ‘a black man in a yellow shirt,'?" the police report said. "Hawkins told him to shut up." Police said the two men squared off after exiting the restroom. Massie stopped in a food court area, put his hands in his pockets and spoke to Hawkins.

    Hawkins told police Massie challenged him with a comment such as, "What are you going to do about it?" Hawkins told detectives he interpreted Massie's actions as aggressive. "Hawkins said he feared if he turned his back on Massie he would be punched in the back of the head, so he punched Massie one time in the jaw with his right hand," the police report said.

    "One punch," police homicide Lt. Lewis Roberts told The Associated Press. "He was out. Never got back up." Massie was pronounced dead less than 30 minutes later at Desert Springs Hospital in Las Vegas, and Hawkins was placed under arrest for murder.

    Benjamin Gerard Hawkins, Gainsville, Florida, Bradford County High School, Bradford County School District, John Massie
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    Las Vegas Sun: Teacher to stand trial in punching death at Strip casino (Feb 28 2012)

    Benjamin Hawkins says it was self defense. But he will stand trial for involuntary manslaughter for punching a man who then fell, hit his head and died last summer in a Las Vegas Strip casino. Following a preliminary hearing today in Las Vegas Justice Court, Judge William Jansen said there was enough evidence to bind Benjamin Hawkins, 38, over to District Court in the death of John Massie.
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    Las Vegas Review-Journal: Man will face trial in deadly casino fight (Feb 28 2012)

    A Florida man charged with involuntary manslaughter after he punched a man who later died at a Strip casino last summer will argue to a jury he was defending himself and his family, his attorney said. Benjamin Hawkins faces the one count for punching John Massie in the face over comments Massie made to Hawkins at O'Sheas casino July 6.
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    Las Vegas Sun: Teacher to be arraigned next month in Strip casino punching death: Judge allows teacher, who lives in Florida, to make plea in abstentia (April 24 2012)

    Benjamin Hawkins, 38, a teacher now in an administrative post at a school district in Gainsville, Fla., is scheduled to be formally arraigned at 9 a.m. May 15 in Clark County District Court ... Hawkins’ attorney, Jack Buchanan, told the judge there was no battery because the video showed Hawkins was defending himself from what he saw as aggressive behavior by an intoxicated man.
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    CBS News: Fatal Vegas casino punch was self-defense, claims wife of accused (July 12 2012)

    The wife of Florida high school football coach Benjamin Hawkins, who's being held on a murder charge, says Hawkins was defending himself when he threw a single punch that authorities say killed a man in a casino on the Las Vegas Strip. "It just looked like he wouldn't leave my husband alone," Leticia Hawkins, 35, a banker from Gainesville, Fla., told The Associated Press. "My husband was defending himself."
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    Las Vegas Sun: Trial opens for teacher in fatal punch at O’Sheas (Nov 27 2012)

    Before prosecutors called six witnesses to testify, Hawkins’ defense attorney, Jack Buchanan, asked the jurors to consider what prompted the defendant to throw the punch. “It’s a why,” Buchanan told the jurors. “Why was it done?” The defense’s assertion is this: Massie flung a racial insult at Hawkins in the bathroom and, after the two exchanged words, continued the confrontation on the casino floor, leading to the defendant feeling threatened and acting in self-defense.
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    Fox 5 Vegas: Opening statements presented in punching death case (Nov 27 2012)

    Opening statements began on Tuesday in the trial of Benjamin Hawkins ... Several witnesses claimed Massie entered the casino bathroom, saw Hawkins and said, "And then there was a black man in a yellow shirt." ... 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.
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    Fox 5 Vegas: Trial continues in -punch Vegas Strip casino death (Nov 28 2012)

    Trial is continuing in Las Vegas for a former Florida high school teacher and football coach accused of killing a Utah man with a single punch after racial insults in a Las Vegas Strip casino restroom. Benjamin Gerard Hawkins is expected to testify in his involuntary manslaughter trial.
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    Las Vegas Sun: Teacher says anger didn’t lead to fatal punch at Las Vegas casino (Nov 29 2012)

    Benjamin Hawkins, charged in the death of a man Hawkins punched at a Las Vegas casino, testified Thursday that anger played no role in his split-second decision. Instead, Hawkins told the courtroom he felt threatened by 46-year-old John Massie, whom he had exchanged words with at O’Sheas. Hawkins testified he feared for his safety and the well-being of his wife and friends seated nearby when he threw the single punch. “My alert level was through the roof,” Hawkins said Thursday from the stand.
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    Las Vegas Review-Journal: Florida teacher, charged in death of Utah man on Strip, testifies at trial (Nov 29 2012)

    Afraid to turn his back on the man, Hawkins phoned his friend, who did not answer. Massie then walked up to Hawkins as he stood by a sink, slapped him on the chest and said, "What's the deal with black people and yellow shirts?" Hawkins told Massie to keep away from him. He said he felt "somewhat intimidated" because "everything revolved around the color of my skin." As Massie left the restroom, he slapped Hawkins on the shoulder. "If you touch me again, I'm going to knock you the (expletive) out," Hawkins said to Massie, who replied, "You want some, come get some."
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    Fox 5 Vegas: Defendant testifies on 3rd day of Strip-punching death trial (Nov 29 2012)

    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 (expletive deleted),'" 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 ... Hawkins also claimed Massie slapped him on the chest and the back while he was trying to wash his hands at the sink.
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    Las Vegas Sun: Man testifies in 1-punch Vegas Strip casino death (Nov 30 2012)

    A former Florida high school teacher and football coach testified Thursday that he felt threatened by a Utah man who he said made derogatory racial comments and touched him on the chest and arm three times before Hawkins knocked the man to the floor of a Las Vegas casino. Benjamin Gerard Hawkins testified that John Massie appeared intoxicated when the two men exchanged words in a restroom, and that Massie wouldn't leave him alone until the single fatal punch on July 6, 2011, at O'Shea's Casino.
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    MSNBC: Florida teacher found guilty in O'Shea's punching death (Nov 30 2012)

    A jury came back with a guilty verdict today for a Florida teacher who threw a deadly punch in a strip casino. Benjamin Hawkins was convicted of involuntary manslaughter this afternoon. The jury dismissed his claims of self-defense ... Hawkins's lawyer says he'll seek probation. But Hawkins could face up to four years in prison at sentencing Feb. 14.

    Fox 5 Vegas: Tourist guilty in Vegas casino punching death (Nov 30 2012)
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    Las Vegas Review Journal: Florida teacher found guilty in death of Utah man (Nov 30 2012)

    Juror Memrie Williams said the key piece of evidence in the case was the video of the confrontation captured by casino security surveillance outside the bathroom. But it wasn't the punch that drew the jurors' attention, Williams said. The juror said it was whom Hawkins was looking at when he emerged from the casino food court restroom, where the confrontation between the two men began ... "When the defendant exited the bathroom, he was looking not at his family but was focused on the victim," Williams said. "He (Hawkins) had every intention of continuing the confrontation."
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    Las Vegas Sun: Man guilty of involuntary manslaughter in one-punch death (Nov 30 2012)

    Prosecutors Maria Lavell and Jonathan Cooper argued that Hawkins’ anger over perceived racial insults led to the punch. They said Hawkins, who also had consumed several alcoholic drinks that night, followed through on a threat he made to Massie in the restroom — that he would “knock him the (expletive) out.” “You did not hear from John Massie,” Lavell told the jurors. “He left Las Vegas in a coffin because the defendant was (expletive deleted) off.”
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    KSBW: Fla. teacher who killed man with 1 punch in Vegas casino could get prison time (Feb 14 2013)

    Benjamin Gerard Hawkins is due for sentencing Thursday in Las Vegas following his November conviction in the death of 46-year-old John Massie ... Defense lawyer Jack Buchanan said he'll seek probation ... Prosecutor Maria Lavell is expected to seek one to four years in prison for the felony conviction.
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    Pantagraph: Fla. ex-coach gets jail time in Vegas casino death (Feb 14 2013)

    A former high school football coach and teacher f[Benjamin Gerard Hawkins] rom Florida was sentenced to three months in jail and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine Thursday after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the one-punch death of a Utah man at a Las Vegas casino.