Trial begins in Tri-Cities nightclub assault case

TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- A local assault case is all coming down to a video tape. The prosecution says it proves a crime. The defense says it proves their client was defending himself.

The assault case against the general manager of Jack Didley's nightclub started Monday. Matthew Hibbard also worked as a bouncer at the downtown Kennewick bar.

A jury will determine if Hibbard committed a crime when he tossed a drunk Ben Ensign out of the bar last 4th of July.

The prosecution believes Hibbard knew he would severely hurt Ensign with his actions.

The defense argues the security tapes will prove the bouncer was only defending himself when a belligerent Ensign began throwing punches.

"Because of the hold he has into Mr. Ensign, he cannot protect himself. He believes his only option is to separate from Mr. Ensign to be able to block any blows," said defense attorney John Jensen. "The sound of Ben's head hitting the concrete pavement was heard from witnesses many feet away," said prosecutor Andy Miller.

Ben Ensign spent months in the hospital and a rehab unit due to his head injuries.

He's on the list of witnesses expected to speak at the trial for third degree assault with aggravating circumstances.

The trial is expected to wrap before the end of the week.