PORTLAND — A 20-year-old Gray man pleaded not guilty this morning to criminal charges in connection with the May 23 death of Eric Benson in Portland’s Monument Square.

William Googins pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and aggravated assault. He appeared briefly at Cumberland County Superior Court.

Police say Googins exchanged words with Benson, who was walking with a female friend in the early morning of May 23. Googins allegedly punched Benson once in the face.

Benson, 24, of Westbrook, fell to the ground and struck his head on the bricks of Monument Square. Doctors at Maine Medical Center were not able to save Benson.

Googins continues to be held on $100,000 bail at the Cumberland County Jail.