HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A deadly fight involving tourists on Hawaii Island may have started when the victim refused to wear a face mask.
That’s according to a police detective who testified in court Thursday.
The manslaughter case against Benjamin Fleming of Pittsburgh continued Thursday with new testimony from police that revealed that Fleming and two friends were drinking at a Kona bar.
That’s when one of them, victim Abhishik Gupta, was reportedly kicked out for being too drunk.
“He said that earlier that at the last bar, people were telling Abe to wear his mask and apparently, he wasn’t wanting to do that. So he said, kind of the same argument continued back at the unit,” said Detective Tyler Prokopec, who testified in court about the details he gathered.
Tensions between the friends rose as they all eventually made their way back to their Airbnb rental along Walua Road.
There, Gupta allegedly started punching the other friend, Alexander Germany-Wald, who later told police that Fleming stepped in to restrain Gupta.
“Then he said Mr. Fleming came around Mr. Gupta and grabbed him,” Prokopec said.
“He said he was able to put him in some type of a headlock or sleeper hold and said he wasn’t sure what he did and said within five seconds, Mr. Gupta was literally asleep.”
The friends said they could hear him snoring, but Gupta later died. They were all former classmates at Carnegie Mellon University.
Fleming is due back in court next week Thursday.