AUSTIN -- Jury selection began Monday in the trial of a homeless man accused of punching an Austin architect to death.

Preston Sharpnack, 22, is charged with aggravated assault and manslaughter for the death of Matt Casey.

On Labor Day weekend, Austin police say Casey and Sharpnack came into contact downtown near 6th Street. Sharpnack and his girlfriend were panhandling when they crossed paths with Casey.

Sharpnack says Casey said something derogatory to the couple because they were homeless, so Sharpnack's girlfriend punched Casey.

Austin police released surviellance video of the assault. investigators say off camera, Sharpnack later was in contact again with Casey and punched him, causing him to fall and hit the pavement in a way that ended up killing him. Doctors say Casey didn't die from the punch but rather from the strike of his head against the ground.

Lawyers asked the jury if they could be fair and impartial in a decision against Sharpnack.

Sharpnack's mother says her son regrets the incident and even wishes he could reverse what happened.

We feel sorry for Mr.Casey's family. We would like to resolve this so we can all move on with our lives, said Bettie Sharpnack.

Stay with KVUE all weekfor continuing coverage of this developing story.

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