Garden City pleads in softball brawl

HAYS — A Garden City man will likely serve a year’s probation and pay restitution in a plea agreement in charges stemming from a fight at a Hays softball game a year ago.

Salvadore Benitez pleaded to three misdemeanor charges of battery Thursday in Ellis County District Court. Under state law, that is equivalent to one felony charge for sentencing history purposes but avoids a felony conviction on his record, Ellis County Attorney Tom Drees said.

Benitez was arrested in Garden City three days after the brawl broke out during a May 19, 2018, softball tournament at Bickle/Schmidt Sports Complex.

The fight was captured on video and shared on Twitter. A man can be seen body slamming another man to the ground, breaking the victim’s arm.

Under the plea agreement, Benitez would be under court services supervision for 12 months. Each charge carries an underlying prison sentence of four consecutive months if terms of supervision are not met.

Benitez will also pay restitution of $3,950.20. He paid $2,500 of that Thursday, Drees said.

 

Newton police chief retires

NEWTON — Following a 33-year career with the Newton Police Department, the last four as chief, Eric Murphy is retiring.

According to a news release issued by the city of Newton, his retirement is "effective immediately." He was not at the department Friday.

Murphy began his career as a reserve officer for Newton Police Department in 1984 and was hired full-time in 1986. He worked his way through the ranks, being promoted to lieutenant in 2006 and deputy chief in 2013 before becoming chief in 2014.

“We sincerely thank Chief Murphy for his honorable service and dedication to the law enforcement profession,” City Manager Bob Myers said. “His integrity and commitment to our community are second to none, and we wish him all the best in the future.”