Austin man found guilty of aggravated assault in architect's punching death

Austin man found guilty of aggravated assault in architect's punching death

Austin man found guilty of aggravated assault in architect's punching death

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by KVUE.com

KVUE News Austin

Posted on July 15, 2013 at 11:41 AM

AUSTIN -- Jurors have found Preston Sharpnack guilty of aggravated assault in the punching death of an Austin architect.

Austin police say last year on Labor Day weekend, Sharpnack, 22, punched Matt Casey while panhandling near 6th Street. When Casey fell after the punch, he hit his head and died.

During the trial, witnesses testified that Casey was extremely intoxicated the night he died and had a reputation for picking fights. Lawyers argued whether to include the evidence that Casey had been banned from Star Bar in downtown Austin for doing just that.

Jurors also listened to testimony from APD detectives who say after an initial assault by Sharpnack's girlfriend, which was captured on camera, Casey and a friend walked away from 6th Street toward 7th, where they found the homeless couple a second time.

That's also the place Casey's body was found lying on the ground.

Detectives said they don't believe Casey was looking to pick a fight. They believe he and his friend were discussing fantasy football seconds after the first punch.

The jury was to decide whether Sharpnack assaulted Casey or if it was self defense.

A sentence will be given to Sharpnack at a later date. He already turned down an eight-year plea agreement.

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