A Northern Minnesotan woman has pleaded guilty to accidentally killing the father of her two children. Last summer, Monalisa Perez fatally shot her boyfriend in the chest as part of a youtube video.
Perez entered a plea of second-degree manslaughter in the Norman County District Court, admitting to the June 26 death of 22-year-old Pedro Ruiz III, reported People.
Second-degree manslaughter is a form of homicide where the death was caused recklessly rather than intended to cause bodily harm.
The now 20-year-old was pregnant at the time of the incident. The couple also had another child, a three-year-old girl, who was nearby when Perez shot him. She has since given birth to their second child.
Perez will be sentenced in February. Her plea agreement calls for the young mom to spend 180 days in jail. They hope to have half of that time served in 30-day increments per year for the next three years. Perez will then serve the balance on electronic home monitoring.
Perez will be on probation for ten years afterward, and she will be is prohibited from profiting from the video and barred for life from having a gun
Back in June, Pedro Ruiz, 22 and Monalisa Perez, 19, thought they were just shooting another YouTube video; little did they know that their recklessness would cost Pedro his life. The Minnesota couple wanted to be YouTube famous, and they were willing to do incredibly stupid things to achieve that.
The stunt was crazy from the beginning. Ruiz asked Perez to shoot a gun at a book, which he would hold against his chest. Perez would later tell police that she only agreed to the video after Ruiz showed her a different book that he had shot that stopped the bullet.
Before they shot the video, Perez tweeted, “Me and Pedro are probably going to shoot one of the most dangerous videos ever😳😳 HIS idea not MINE🙈.”
So with two cameras running and their daughter sitting nearby, Perez stood a foot away from her boyfriend and shot a .50 caliber Desert Eagle handgun at the book—reportedly a hardcover encyclopedia according to County Attorney James Brue—that he held directly against his chest.
Outdoor goods retailer Cabela’s describes the Desert Eagle as “one of the world’s most powerful semiautomatic handguns,” so predictably—and tragically—the book didn’t stop the bullet, and it entered Ruiz’s chest.
Perez immediately called 911, but police were not able to help Ruiz. He died at the scene.
Ruiz had apparently been talking about the prank for awhile. His aunt, Claudia Ruiz said, “He had told me about that idea, and I said, ‘Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Why are you going to use a gun? Why?’” He simply responded that they wanted to be famous.
Another aunt, Lisa Primeau, who raised Ruiz after his mother died when he was young, says he had always been reckless.
“We called him our little daredevil,” says Primeau. He was always “putting a dangerous twist on everything he did,” such as “jumping into the swimming pool from the top of the house, no hesitation.” And she added, “[He] had plenty of guns. He liked guns.”
His aunts also share that Ruiz, who worked for BNSF Railway and was studying to be a foreman, was thrilled about his new baby, a boy due in September who will be named Pedro in memory of his father.
“He wanted to have so many babies. I remember him telling me,” says Claudia Ruiz.
“I wish they wouldn’t have done it. I wish he would’ve just done another prank. He was so young. He had so much going for himself,” she adds. “They were in love. It was just a prank gone wrong. It shouldn’t have happened like this. It shouldn’t have happened at all.”
This tragic story serves as a reminder of the dangers of doing stunts for hits. It also points out the need for better firearms education. A simple google search would have shown the couple that a book—even a thick encyclopedia—couldn’t stop a bullet from a .50 caliber Desert Eagle.