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Wife: Fatal Punch In Vegas Casino Was Self-Defense

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The wife of a Florida high school football coach says her husband was defending himself with a punch that killed a Utah man in a Las Vegas Strip casino.

Benjamin Hawkins pleaded not guilty Friday to a murder charge in the death of 46-year-old John Massie early Wednesday at O’Sheas Las Vegas Casino.

Leticia Hawkins tells The Associated Press that Massie wouldn’t leave her 37-year-old husband alone as the two men exited a casino restroom.

Benjamin Hawkins told police that Massie commented about “a black man in a yellow shirt” in the restroom, and challenged him in a food court area.

Hawkins is black. Massie was white.

Hawkins is accused of killing Massie with a single punch to the jaw.

He’s jailed in Las Vegas pending a bail hearing Tuesday.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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