Staged mugging prank leads to fatal stabbing of N.J. man

December 04, 1991|By Knight-Ridder

A Trenton, N.J., man playing a late-night prank on a friend by donning a mask and staging a mugging was fatally stabbed by the unsuspecting friend as the victim's young wife watched in horror, police said.

The friend was arrested.

Police said Carlos Rodriguez, 22, wanted to fool Miguel Perez, 18. Just before midnight Monday, he called Perez and told him two masked men were attacking a friend near their homes. Perez said he would be right out. Then Rodriguez and Daniel Barreto, 22, put on stocking masks and waited. The plan was to frighten Perez, then pull off the masks and have a good laugh, Barreto told police.

But when Perez encountered the two in the rainy darkness, he pulled a knife and stabbed one of them in the chest.

It was Rodriguez. But Perez didn't know until the bleeding man pulled off his mask and cried out.

Police said the friends first said masked muggers had stabbed Rodriguez. But when the prank was revealed, police charged Perez with aggravated manslaughter and unlawful possession of a weapon.

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