Former Fla. coach due in court for one-punch slaying

LAS VEGAS — A former Florida high school football coach is due in a Las Vegas court on a reduced involuntary manslaughter charge in a one-punch slaying of a Utah man after they exchanged words in a Las Vegas Strip casino.

Benjamin Gerard Hawkins of Gainesville, Fla., claims self-defense in the slaying of 46-year-old John Massie last July 6 at O'Shea's Las Vegas Casino.

A Las Vegas judge will be asked Tuesday to decide if the 38-year-old Hawkins should stand trial in state court on a felony charge that could get him probation or up to four years in prison.

Hawkins is black. He was initially charged with murder after admitting he punched Massie, who was from Roy, Utah.

Authorities say Massie's head hit the floor and he died of a head injury.

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