Lawyer argues Austin architect had history of picking fights

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by JESSICA HOLLOWAY / KVUE News

kvue.com

Posted on July 10, 2013 at 6:18 PM

Updated Friday, Jul 12 at 11:29 PM

TRAVIS COUNTY -- Witnesses say an Austin architect was highly intoxicated the night he died near 6th Street, and he had a propensity for picking fights.

Last Labor Day Weekend, Matt Casey died from a skull fracture after police say Preston Sharpnack hit him, causing him to fall and hit his head. Sharpnack is charged with manslaughter and aggravated assault.

Wednesday, lawyers argued whether to admit into evidence the fact that Casey had previously been banned from Star Bar after a separate fighting incident.

The jury must decide whether Sharpnack committed murder or if it was self-defense. Sharpnack and his homeless girlfriend were asking for money on 6th Street. Sharpnack's girlfriend can be seen on Halo cameras punching Casey.

Jurors listened to hours of testimony from Austin Police Department detectives who say after that initial assault captured on camera, Matt 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 say they don't believe Casey was looking to pick a fight, further saying, Casey and his friend were discussing fantasy football seconds after the initial punch.

The state expects to call forensic experts, and the defense plans to call Sharpnack's girlfriend.

Testimony resumes Thursday morning.

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