Woman Stands Trial For One-Punch Death

Man who set up party game bet strikes plea deal

Monday, Oct 3, 2011  |  Updated 7:30 PM CDT
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Victim's mother:

Victim's mother: "He didn't take the bet to die."

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A Joliet woman went on trial Monday, facing charges in an incident where a party game turned fatal.

Tiffany Startz, 22, is charged with reckless conduct and battery after punching aspiring rapper, John Powell, 25, at a party in Crest Hill last September.

Witnesses say Powell let Startz him hit once in the face to win a $5 bet arranged by another man, 27-year-old Jimmy Mounts.

"John took it ... he took the bet to get hit, he didn't take the bet to die," the victim's mother, Theresa Guy, said.

Mounts was also scheduled to go on trial Monday but struck a plea deal with prosecutors. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Mounts pleaded guilty to attempted obstruction of justice for lying to police about the incident and was sentenced to a two-year conditional discharge.

The Will County coroner says the blow burst an artery in Powell's neck, causing blood to pool around his brain. He died minutes after receiving the punch.

"We don't believe that Tiffany Startz committed a crime," defense attorney Edward Masters said. "This is a punishment of the result, not the crime,"

The trial began Monday morning after being postponed earlier this year.

Startz attorneys claim the charges should be dropped because the punch was consensual.

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