It was supposed to be a moment of respite for 47-year-old Abelino Mazariego, but police say two teenagers turned his break into the last moments of his life.
The Salvadoran immigrant had just left his job as a dishwasher and sat on a park bench late Saturday evening with his paycheck in pocket and liquor in hand to enjoy a little time off, officials say.
Around 9 p.m. that evening a group of 14 teenagers were walking through the park, one of them allegedly sat beside him. Authorites were unclear if the teen spotted the money or if Mazariego showed it to him.
The victims shirt was then pulled over his face by 18-year-old Khayri Williams-Clark, police say. Nigel Dumas, 19, allegedly struck the the victim in the jaw while an unidentified 17-year-old joined in the beating. The entire attack was captured on a fourth teen's camera phone, while two younger teens stood watch. The beating continued until Mazariego lost consciousness, which he would never regain.
Mazariego's bloody body lay slumped in the park bench. The teens then ran away into a local store only to notice that they did not steal the victim's money. When the group returned to the park emergency workers were tending to the victims injuries, said Union County Prosecutor Theodore Romankow.
Mazariego was taken to Overlook Hospital in Summit with intracranial bleeding. As he lay dying family members noted that Mazariegos paycheck was missing. After reporting the missing money to the police, a nurse Stephan Randolph was charged with third-degree theft.
Mazariego died in the hospital days later without ever regaining consciousness.
During the investigation the victims wife learned of a video that showed the beating of her dead husband, Romankow said. The widow told the authorities who tracked the video to the teens. The video had been circulating the video amongst them. Police used the video to piece together the bloody chain of events.
The attack was not motivated by bias, Romankow said Friday, but "a crime of opportunity."
"If this man were a Caucasian, an African-American, or a Chinese person they would have done the same thing to him,'' Romankow said.
Only Williams-Clark, Dumas and the unidentified 17- year-old are set to face felony murder charges.
Police are also charging two additional teens with aggravated assault and robbery-related charges for their roles as lookouts. None of the other teens including the one who taped the attack, will be charged, authorities said.