Father beats other father to death over son's hockey game

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Manslaughter Charge in Hockey Fight

WOBURN, Mass. (AP) - A man accused of beating another father to death in an argument over rough play at their youngsters' hockey game pleaded innocent to manslaughter Monday.

Thomas Junta, 42, had originally been charged with assault in the beating of Michael Costin. But prosecutors upgraded the charge to manslaughter after Costin's death, which District Attorney Martha Coakley said resulted from a ``wanton and reckless assault and battery.''

Junta turned himself in to police and was released on $5,000 bail. Manslaughter carries up to 20 years in prison.

Junta allegedly beat Costin unconscious Wednesday at a rink as children as young as 10 watched. Costin, 40, was declared brain-dead Thursday and removed from a ventilator Friday.

Junta's mother said in Monday's Boston Globe that her son has expressed remorse.

``At least it's not murder, thank God almighty,'' Mary Junta said. ``I'm so sorry the whole thing happened - manslaughter is no joke, either.''

Costin had been out on the ice with a group of youngsters, all about 10 years old, including his three sons and Junta's son. The hockey game was supposed to be non-contact, but police say Junta got agitated when things got rough and some of the players engaged in checking.

Junta and Costin began arguing. A rink manager threw Junta out, but he returned. Junta, who is 6-foot-1 and weighs 275 pounds, knocked the 6-foot, 150-pound Costin to the floor and punched him in the head, police said. Another adult broke up the fight.

Costin's friends described him as a dedicated parent and a peacemaker, but he had had numerous run-ins with the law, and served time in prison.

Costin was arraigned 36 times between 1979 and 1995 on charges including illegal gun possession and assault and battery on a police officer. He was sent to prison seven times between 1983 and 1995, serving anywhere from 30 days to 15 months at a time, according to state records.

Junta does not have a criminal record.

-- Sins of the Father (@ .), July 10, 2000


Next time you're at a little league game, glance up into the stands occasionally. There'll be an alarming number of "adults" damned close to busting a blood vessel. So much for teaching kids "good sportsmanship."

-- I'm Here, I'm There (I'm Everywhere@so.beware), July 10, 2000.

Definitely sounds like a case of bad karma.

-- Will (righthere@home.now), July 10, 2000.

I'm pretty sure that manslaughter in a hockey rink is punishable by a five minute penalty, plus a ten-minute misconduct. Murder gets five, plus a game misconduct and maybe a review by the league, as well.

-- Privateer (ironic_detachment@hotmail.com), July 10, 2000.

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