Man dies after fight at son's hockey game

Saturday, July 8th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

READING, Mass. – Two fathers came to blows over rough play during their sons' youth hockey game, and one of the men has died of his injuries.

Michael Costin, a 40-year-old single father of four, was beaten into a coma Wednesday in front of some children at a rink. He was declared brain dead on Thursday and taken off a ventilator Friday, a prosecutor said.

Thomas Junta, 42, had been charged with assault and battery before Mr. Costin's death. "We are now treating this death as a possible homicide," Middlesex District Attorney Martha Coakley said.

Because the current charge is a misdemeanor and police did not witness the attack, authorities were not able to hold Mr. Junta, Ms. Coakley said.

Mr. Costin had been out on the ice with a group of youngsters, all about 10 years old, including his three sons and Mr. Junta's son. The game was supposed to be noncontact, but adults got agitated when things got rough.

Mr. Junta and Mr. Costin began arguing with each other, and a rink manager threw Mr. Junta out, but he returned, police said.

Mr. Junta knocked Mr. Costin to the floor and punched him in the head, police said. Another adult broke up the fight, but Mr. Costin was unconscious.

A woman who answered the phone at Mr. Junta's home in Reading on Friday declined to comment.