NMSU basketball player admits he punched another student
Attorney says it was not a 'brutal beating'
One of New Mexico State University's star basketball players is apologizing for punching a student during a party.
Tyrone Watson was arrested Wednesday and charged with aggravated battery causing great bodily harm, a third-degree felony.
Watson has been suspended from the team indefinitely by Coach Marvin Menzies.
Watson's attorney, Joe Coronado, told ABC-7 witnesses are exaggerating their claims of what happened.
Coronado said his client has never denied hitting Miguel Rascon, 19, but Coronado said witness accounts of what happened have been blown out of proportion because of drugs and alcohol.
"The person who spoke most strongly saying Tyrone was kicking and stomping him, I found out that that evening she was smoking pot and drinking. It's a party. The lights are low," Coronado said.
In photos from after the alleged attack, Rascon is seen with a severely swollen face. His family told ABC-7 he suffered multiple fractures to his skull.
Coronado said Watson did not cause that.
"From what I've discovered, talking to people, he kind of picked him up by the shirt and put him down, hit him one time and then his friends took him off. They took him outside. The whole thing lasted about 5, 6, 7 seconds," Coronado said.
He thinks others at the party attacked Rascon after Watson left. Coronado admits none of the witnesses have mentioned the possibility of anyone else being involved in the attack, but he said the investigation is ongoing.
Las Cruces police said Watson was at a house party last month when he saw Rascon dancing with his girlfriend. According to investigators, Watson got jealous and attacked Rascon.
"He feels really bad about it. He's not what he has been portrayed to be in the press, a monster and a vicious guy and all those things. He's not. He's a nice guy who just lost his cool for a moment," Coronado said.
Rascon's family told ABC-7 they're upset at the way Watson and his attorney are downplaying what happened. They said the truth will come out in court.
"Unfortunately he got himself involved in something and now he's got to go through the process to prove that the charge now filed against him is not true. He admittedly hit Miguel but he has always maintained that the things the press has said he did, he didn't do," Coronado said.
Watson bonded out of jail just a few hours after he was arrested on Wednesday. His bond was set at $5,000 secured.
Coronado said Watson will try to appeal his suspension from the basketball team at a hearing next week, but he could be out for the rest of the year.
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