KISSIMMEE, Fla. — A man accused of fatally punching another patron at Miller’s Ale House last month is now facing upgraded charges in Orange County.
- Benjamin Hernandez Jr. charged with manslaughter
- Srikanth "Shrik" Srinivasan's brain herniated at brainstem
- Deputies: Suspect tried to "de-escalate" couple's verbal spat
- RELATED: Man Charged in Deadly Punch at Kissimmee Miller's Ale House
Benjamin Hernandez Jr., 28, of Sebring was charged Monday with manslaughter in the death of Srikanth "Shrik" Srinivasan, 51, of Winter Garden.
Hernandez was previously charged with the lesser crimes of aggravated battery with great bodily harm.
After the punch in the outdoor patio of the Kissimmee restaurant on June 4, Srinivasan fell to the ground and suffered trauma to his head. He was airlifted to Osceola Regional Medical Center in critical condition. A neurologist there opted against surgery, saying Srinivasan was “clinically brain dead."
“It was advised that Srikanth's brain had herniated at the brainstem and he was not expected to survive,” an arrest report said. A doctor said "that there is nothing they can do to treat Srikanth.”
His wife took him off life support the next day.
In a court filing, Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis D. Ayala charged Hernandez with manslaughter, saying he killed Srinivasan “without lawful justification or excuse.”
An arrest affidavit said Hernandez intervened in a verbal argument between Srinivasan and his wife at the restaurant at 8123 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway.
Hernandez told a deputy he was in the bar having a few drinks and noticed Srinivasan and his wife in a verbal argument. Hernandez got up and approached the couple and tried to calm Srinivasan to “de-escalate the issue,” a report said.
When Srinivasan would not calm down, Hernandez punched him in the face with a closed fist, knocking him down to the ground and causing him to strike his head on the floor.
Several customers prevented Hernandez from leaving the bar after the punch, forcing him to wait for authorities to arrive.
“Benjamin stated that he has seen a lot of abuse in his family and did not want to see another man hurt a woman” and “that’s why he did what he did,” the report added.
Srinivasan’s wife ran to his side after he fell and was extremely distraught while the paramedics worked on him.
Witnesses gave similar statements to deputies. One recalled Hernandez say: "I'm not going to let no man disrespect no women like that.”