Case of man who threw fatal punch in dog leash dispute goes to trial in April

Kristen Johanson
March 13, 2019 - 11:26 am
A man has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and other offenses after police say he killed another man with a single punch during an argument over an unleashed dog.

Philadelphia Police Department

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The case of a man accused of throwing a deadly punch can now proceed to trial. 

Dressed in a black suit, 24-year-old Matthew Oropeza agreed to waive his preliminary hearing on charges of involuntary manslaughter, terroristic threats, simple assault and recklessly endangering another. Now his case moves to the Court of Common Pleas. 

The alleged assault happened in early January when Oropeza and the victim, 38-year-old Drew Justice, were walking their dogs in a South Philadelphia park. 

READ: Man turns himself in for fatally punching another over dog leash disagreement

Authorities say Justice asked Oropeza to leash his dog, which led to an argument, and that Oropeza punched Justice, who fell backward and slammed his head on the ground. 

Justice was taken to a hospital and later died. 

Oropeza has been barred by the court from visiting several dog parks around South Philadelphia after prosecutors alleged another volatile incident in another park. 

READ: Dog leash dispute turns deadly at South Philly park

Oropeza has been charged with fighting-related offenses before, pleading guilty to one case in Delaware County. 

He is due to be formally arraigned next month.