CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – A 12-year-old girl testified Monday that one hockey father pummeled another until she saw the beaten man lying motionless.
"There were several punches to the face," she said. "I saw about three ... He was pretty much straddled over Mr. Costin."
The girl, her identity withheld to protect her anonymity, was the first of several children expected to take the stand in the manslaughter trial of Thomas Junta, 44.
Junta is accused of beating Michael Costin to death after the two argued over rough play at their sons' hockey practice. Junta said he was defending himself. In a police interview after the fight that was played Monday, the 270-pound Junta described himself and the 160-pound Costin as "two dopey guys" arguing.
When asked at the end of the interview if he wished to add anything, Junta replied: "Other than I wish it never happened, no, and I hope the guy's fine."
Costin, 40, never regained consciousness He was declared dead the day after the July 5, 2000, fight.
The 12-year-old, who was scheduled to start a figure skating lesson after the game, said she saw the men arguing and shoving each other.
Tossing her ponytail from time to time during testimony, she said Junta started to leave the building after the shoving but turned around before going out the front door. She said Junta tackled Costin and threw him to the ice.
Several people pulled Junta off Costin, who had a bloody nose, the girl said. A prosecutor asked if Costin was moving.
"No," she said.
Composed throughout her testimony, the girl did not waver when defense attorney Thomas Orlandi Jr. asked if she was sure of what she saw.
Her testimony differed somewhat from that of other witnesses who said Junta went into the parking lot before returning to the building, rather than turning back at the front door.
Ryan Carr, 21, a hockey player who was practicing at the rink, said he saw Costin throw the first punch when Junta returned after the initial shoving match. He said Junta blocked the punch and overpowered Costin, pinning him to the floor.
Carr said Costin was trying to throw punches, kicking and flailing. He said he saw Junta punch him three or four times. Costin then began shielding his head, and then "Mr. Junta pushed Mr. Costin's head into the mat."
"He grabbed him by the side of his head and jammed his head into the matting," Carr said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.