Ex Football Coach Pleads Not Guilty
LAS VEGAS (AP) - A Nevada judge accepted a written not guilty plea and scheduled trial for an absent Gainesville man facing a felony involuntary manslaughter charge in the one-punch death of a man during a Las Vegas Strip casino scuffle.
Judge Abbi Silver in Las Vegas let Benjamin Hawkins' attorney, Jack Buchanan, stand in for Hawkins during Tuesday's arraignment in Clark County District Court. A trial was set to begin November 26th.
Buchanan says Hawkins has cooperated with authorities since the encounter that left John Massie dead last July 6th.
Hawkins claims self-defense after Massie made a comment about "a black man in a yellow shirt" in a restroom at O'Shea's Las Vegas Casino.
Hawkins is black. Massie was white. He was from Roy, Utah.
Casino video shows the punch and Massie falling backward. He died of severe brain injuries.
Hawkins had been as Assistant Coach for the Bradford High School football team. After the incident Hawkins was removed from coaching and teaching history at the school.
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