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Defensive Backs Coach Ben Hawkins Punched Man During Altercation

10:15 PM, Jul 6, 2011   |    comments
Benjamin Hawkins, of Gainesville, Fl, charged with murder in Las Vegas
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LAS VEGAS, NV - Las Vegas police say Benjamin Hawkins, of Gainesville, killed a Utah man with one punch to the face at O'Shea's Casino.

Hawkins, who is an assistant football coach at Bradford County High School in Starke, has been booked on one count of Open Murder.

Police responded to the casino at 12:46 a.m. and found the victim unconscious and not breathing on the floor of the casino.

John Massie of Utah was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced deceased.

Police say Hawkins and Massie were engaged in a verbal altercation while in the restroom.  Massie, who is white, made a comment to Hawkins about"a black man in a yellow shirt."  They left the restroom with Hawkins following Massie. Massie stopped in front of a Burger King restaurant, put his hands in his pockets, and then said something to Hawkins.

Police say Hawkins said something back to Massie, then turned his back as if to walk away. Hawkins then turned around very quickly, and reportedly struck Massie on the left jaw. Massie fell straight onto his back/head, at which time his hands came out of his pockets according to police.

Massie was pronounced dead at 1:08 a.m. at the Desert Springs Hospital.

Hawkins told police Massie said something to the effect of "what are you going to do about it" and Hawkins interpreted his actions as agressive. 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 with his right hand.

Hawkins was arrested and transported to Clark County Detention Center.

We have not yet been able to contact Hawkins or his family for comment.

First Coast News

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