ELIZABETH – On Wednesday, three suspects charged with the death of a Summit man in 2010 pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter, Union County Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow said.
Nigel Dumas, 21, of Morristown; Khayri Williams-Clark, 20, of Summit and Hakean Fitzgerald, 19, of Summit pleaded guilty before Superior Court Judge Stuart Peim, said Assistant Prosecutor Scott M. Peterson, who prosecuted the case. Fitzgerald had previously been charged as a minor but was waived to adult court on Jan. 13, 2011.
Under the terms of the pleas they each accepted, Fitzgerald faces 18 years in prison and both Dumas and Williams-Clark face 15 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for March 8.
According to the investigation, on July 17, 2010 Abelino Mazariego, 47, was found unconscious in the Prominade Park off Springfield Avenue in downtown Summit around 9:25 p.m. He was taken to Overlook Hospital in serious condition and remained unconscious until his death on Tuesday, July 20, 2010.
Just before the attack, Mazariego had finished work at a local restaurant and was seated on a bench in the park. At some point the suspects entered the park and several of them began to speak with Mazariego and according to the investigation, several of the defendants in the case hatched a plan to steal cash and property from the victim.
According to the investigation, Williams-Clark stood behind the victim and held a white tee shirt over the victim’s head while Fitzgerald, who was 17 years old at the time, punched Mazariego. Dumas then punched the victim a second time.
The attack was recorded on a cell phone by one of the individuals in the area. The force of the blows knocked Mazariego unconscious and the teenagers 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, 2010, a few hours before Mazariego died.
Upon learning that a video of the attack existed, 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.