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Teen In Paterson 'Knockout Game' Assault Agrees To 2½ Years Behind Bars

Paterson police are investigating the assault of a man that was uploaded to social media this week. (Courtesy of Vine Underground)
Paterson police are investigating the assault of a man that was uploaded to social media this week. (Courtesy of Vine Underground) Video Credit: NJ.com

PATERSON, N.J. – An 18-year-old Paterson man must serve more than 2½ years in a state juvenile prison after he admitted Wednesday that he knocked out a defenseless man on a city street, in an incident that went viral after it was posted on YouTube.

A judge revoked his bail and returned Kristian Gonzalez to an Essex County juvenile detention facility after the teen pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of second-degree aggravated assault.

Because Gonzalez was a minor at the time, he will serve his sentence in a Juvenile Justice Commission facility, under state law.

He will also remain under parole supervision for three years after his release, under the terms of a plea bargain with prosecutors.

The viral video shows Gonzalez walking up to 37-year old Cesar Najara on a street corner in the Rosa Parks neighborhood last December.

Egged on by a 16-year-old friend recording video on a cellphone, Gonzalez punches the unsuspecting Najara in the head, knocking him out.

Najara was later treated at a local hospital for injuries that included a cut lip.

The younger teen quickly turned himself in to police when the story broke.

Gonzalez, who was 17 at the time, agreed Tuesday to allow that his case be waived from the Family Division to adult criminal court.

During the subsequent plea hearing on Wednesday, Gonzalez “admitted under oath that he did not know Mr. Najara, that the attack was not in self-defense, that his intent was to cause Mr. Najara serious bodily injury, and that he knew the blow rendered the Mr. Najara unconscious,” Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes said.

Sentencing was scheduled for Sept. 30.

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