SUMMIT – Prosecutors announced two additional arrests in connection with the fatal beating of a 47-year-old Summit man, and said that charges against three previously-arrested suspects have been upgraded to felony murder.
Authorities now believe the teenagers accused in the attack had plotted to rob Abelino Mazariego prior to the incident, Union County Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow said.
Mazariego was found unconscious in the Prominade Park off Springfield Avenue in downtown Summit around 9:25 p.m. on July 17 He was taken to Overlook Hospital in serious condition and remained unconscious until his death on Tuesday, July 20.
An investigation by the Union County Homicide Task Force and the Summit Police Department led to several arrests in the case.
Nigel Dumas, 19, of Morristown is being held at the Union County Jail on $300,000 bail. Khayri Williams-Clark, 18, of Summit, who had been free on bail from an earlier charge of manslaughter, was rearrested on Thursday evening, said Romankow. He is being held on $250,000 bail.
A 17-year-old from Summit who was also arrested for his role in the attack remains in the Union County Juvenile Detention Center in Elizabeth. Prosecutors will seek try him as an adult, said Romankow.
Williams-Clark, Dumas and the 17-year-old are also charged with first degree robbery.
Members of the Union County Homicide Task Force and the Summit Police Department made two additional arrests in the case on Thursday, said Romankow. A 17-year-old and a 15-year-old were served with complaints alleging conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and conspiracy to commit robbery and robbery and aggravated assault.
According to the investigation, on July 17, Mazariego had finished work at a local restaurant, stopped at a few local businesses and then settled on a park bench to enjoy an evening in Summit.
At some point, investigators believe the suspects entered the park and several of them began to speak with Mazariego. Authorities allege that several of the teenagers hatched a plan to steal cash and property from the victim.
Williams-Clark allegedly stood behind the victim and held a white tee shirt over the victim’s head while the 17-year-old punched Mazariego with brutal force, authorities said. Dumas then allegedly punched the victim a second time.
The attack was recorded on a cell phone by one of the individuals in the area, authorities said. The force of the blows knocked Mazariego unconscious and his attackers then fled the scene.
Good Samaritans discovered the victim and contacted police. After Mazariego was taken to Overlook Hospital, doctors informed officers that the victim was in a grave state but said there was no indication that a crime had taken place. Several days later, a family friend of the victim reported that she had seen a video of the attack. The family was told of the video and they contacted police on July 20, a few hours before Mazariego died.
Upon learning that a video of the attack existed, an investigation was immediately launched by the Summit Police Department.
Investigators were able to quickly identify the teenager who recorded the attack and after watching the video was able to identify suspects. Arrests were made shortly after Mazariego died.
At first, the suspects were charged with manslaughter and then the charges were upgraded to homicide. Based on information gathered during the continuing investigation the charges were upgraded to felony murder on Thursday evening.
In a separate matter related to the case, Stephan Randolph, 39, a registered nurse at Overlook Hospital, was charged last week with one count of third degree theft, after he allegedly stole several hundred dollars from Mazariego when the man was brought into the emergency room.
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