Suspect pleads not guilty to punching man, causing skull fracture in fight

Published 10:40 am Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A man police allegedly watched punch a another man before he celebrated “like a boxer” pleaded not guilty to two felony assault charges in Mower County court Monday.

Delecta Edward Watkins Jr., 24, faces first-degree and third-degree assault charges, both felonies, for doing substantial harm after he allegedly punched another man during a scuffle caused him to fall backward, hit and go to the hospital for a skull fracture and brain bleed.

According to court records, the Austin Police Department responded to a fight near Key Apartments, 900 14th St. NW, at about 2:20 p.m. on Aug. 19.

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An officer arrived in an unmarked car to find a group of about seven to eight people before seeing Watkins punch a man, who fell back and hit his head on the sidewalk, and then “jumped around like a boxer with his fist in the air.”

The officer left the car and ordered the subjects onto the ground at Taser point before handcuffing Watkins. The victim was found not moving with blood coming from the back of his head. The officer administered first aid before other officers arrived.

The victim was taken to the hospital and treated for a skull fracture and bleeding on his brain.

One female witness told police she observed Watkins arguing with his girlfriend before he told three males, one being the victim, that they “don’t belong here.”

The witness said a woman in a pink dress began hitting Watkins with a stick, and she believed the three men were about to “jump” Watkins before he punched the victim in the face.

Watkins told police he came home from work to find his girlfriend in the apartment with the three men, who began badmouthing him. He told police he went outside and the men began getting close to him, so he punched one.

However, police interviewed several other people, including a young woman, an intoxicated woman in a pink dress and two men.

The witnesses said Watkins was sleeping in the young woman’s apartment when she and the woman in the pink dress went to a nearby apartment. They said Watkins barged in threatening to harm or kill them. He’d allegedly assaulted the young woman before.

The woman left the apartment, but Watkins followed. She ran away and then turned to see the men scuffling before Watkins punched the victim.

The witness said they were scared because they didn’t know if Watkins had a gun. Police found a knife in his boot when he was arrested.

Watkins is set for a March 3, 2017 pretrial and March 13, 2017, trial.