Las Vegas Man Accused of Murdering Father of Five With Sucker Punch Pleads Not Guilty
Luis Campos was allegedly punched while standing in line for a Las Vegas bar
A former convict charged with murdering a 45-year-old father of five from California with what authorities allege was a single, unprovoked punch pleaded not guilty in Nevada court on Tuesday, PEOPLE confirms.
James Michael Beach, 28, was arrested soon after the alleged fatal punch that killed 45-year-old Luis Campos on April 30.
According to investigators, Campos, a truck driver from California, was killed shortly after 1:30 a.m. the morning. Authorities allege Beach attacked him while Campos stood in line for a Las Vegas bar with his younger brother, Drake Garibay.
The two brothers were in town from California for another brother’s party, police said.
While waiting to get into the bar, Campos and Garibay were allegedly approached by two men — one tall, one short.
“The taller guy walked right up to my brother’s face and said something like, ‘What are you looking at?,'” Garibay told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, alleging, “He just struck my brother once. The whole thing was like, three [or] four seconds long.”
“He didn’t even get a chance to say anything,” Garibay said. “It wasn’t even like they squared up. My brother turned his head, he didn’t say one word.”
Campos died four days later in a Las Vegas hospital.
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Beach’s defense attorney, Greg Knapp, tells PEOPLE his client never intended to kill Campos.
“This was a terrible accident,” Knapp says, adding that he has seen surveillance footage of the encounter, and said he was “surprised” by what he saw.
“The strike to the face does not justify a death,” Knapp says. He plans on requesting copies of Campos’ medical records, to see whether other conditions could have contributed to his death.
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Beach also is accused of threatening to harm a woman who identified him to police; he has pleaded not guilty to the charge of intimidating a witness. He remains jailed on $350,000 bail.
Beach’s trial is set to start on Oct. 2.
According to court records obtained by PEOPLE, Beach was released from a Nevada state prison in September 2014 after serving more than four years for attempted murder and battery with a deadly weapon stemming from a November 2008 shooting that left a 19-year-old man wounded in the heart and another man wounded in the groin.
Julie Campos, Luis’ wife, told PEOPLE in May, “Our love story began and ended in Vegas. It’s still so mind-boggling for me. He was such an amazing man and an amazing husband and father. He was my best friend, my lover, my mate, my everything … I am super proud of the time I had with him.”