Benjamin Gerard Hawkins, the former coach found guilty of manslaughter in one punch death at O’Sheas casino, says that he was defending himself when he threw that one punch that resulted in the death of John Massie of Utah.
The former Florida football coach was at O’Shea’s casino on July 6 2011 and got into some type of an altercation with John Massie, 36, of Utah, in a restroom of OShea’s, located on the Las Vegas Strip.
Witnesses in the restroom had said that they hear comments about a “a black man in a yellow shirt”
Hawkins is black and was wearing a yellow shift.
When he exited the restroom, he claims that Massie was waiting for him.
Hawkins said that he felt threatened.
Casino surveillance video showed the two men appearing to speak and Massie had his hands in his pockets. Hawkins turned and took two or three steps toward his wife and the two friends they were with at the blackjack table. Massie took two steps toward Hawkins, who turned around and threw, what turned out to be, the fatal punch.
Massie died when his head hit the floor, not from the punch itself, however if there was no punch thrown, then Massie would be alive.
Hawkins has been assigned administrative tasks at Bradford County High School in Florida pending the outcome of the trial.
Since he has now been found guilty of voluntary manslaughter, it is not known if he will be terminated from his position.
Hawkins was allowed to return to Florida until his sentencing on February 14, 2013, perhaps sending a silent message about what his sentence will be.
His team is seeking probation, although he can face up to 4 years in jail.
What do you think? Should Benjamin Gerard Hawkins, the former coach found guilty of manslaughter in one punch death at O’Sheas casino receive probation or a more severe sentence?