Ex-felon arrested in one-punch death on Las Vegas sidewalk
LAS VEGAS (AP) — An man held in the one-punch killing of a California father of five outside a downtown Las Vegas lounge served prison time in Nevada, police said Monday.
James Michael Beach, 27, was arrested Sunday after police say he was identified in security videos leaving the sidewalk scene where Luis Campos, 45, was fatally injured early April 30. Beach also uses the name James Michael Garcia, according to police and court records.
Campos, a truck driver from the Los Angeles-area city of La Puente, had been in Las Vegas for a bachelor party with his brothers, relatives said. He did not regain consciousness before he was pronounced dead Thursday at a Las Vegas hospital.
His wife, Julie Campos, told reporters Monday their family has been devastated by what she and police say was an apparently unprovoked attack. The couple has two young children and were nearing their third wedding anniversary. Luis Campos had three children from a previous marriage.
“You never would have thought just one sucker punch would snuff his beautiful life out,” Julie Campos said.
Police Lt. Dan McGrath said Campos was standing in line outside the Vanguard Lounge when Beach stopped while walking past, asked what Campos was looking at, and punched him.
Beach’s attorney, Gregory Knapp, said his client didn’t mean to kill Campos, and will plead not guilty to a murder charge.
“It was a horrible accident and Mr. Beach feels terrible,” Knapp said of the 1:30 a.m. incident. “Words were exchanged on some level and a punch was thrown. There was no premeditation, no malice. You don’t expect someone to die. It was spontaneous.”
Beach was released from state prison in September 2014 after served more than four years for pleading pleaded guilty to attempted murder and battery with a deadly weapon in a November 2008 shooting. A 19-year-old man was wounded in the heart and another man was wounded in the groin, according to court records.
Beach’s sentence was two-to-10 years. He was not on probation when he was arrested Sunday.
Knapp said Beach was doing construction work, is engaged to be married and has a child.