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A deadly attack on a 47 year-old father of four has left a town in New Jersey shaken. The town of Summit, N.J., reportedly considered itself a diverse, upscale city which welcomes immigrants. The vicious beating death of Salvadoran immigrant, Abelino Mazaniego, by three teenagers has turned that view on its head. The young attackers, Khayri Williams-Clark, Nigel Dumas and one unidentified minor, had the attack filmed on a cell phone video camera by what is believed to be a fourth accomplice and allegedly circulated the video among their peers.
According to the Associated Press, the young men charged with the attack allegedly approached Mazaniego as he sat on a bench after his shift at the Dabbawalla Indian restaurant. Without warning they attacked him, beating him so severely he died in the hospital.
The three accused in the attack are, Khayri Williams-Clark, 18; an unidentified 17-year-old; and Nigel Dumas, 19. A fourth is believed to have filmed the attack but has not yet been charged. Williams-Clark pleaded not guilty to the initial charge of manslaughter on Friday, according to the AP.
Voluntary manslaughter is usually defined as an intentional killing in which the offender had no prior intent to kill. This is often referred to as an in the "heat of passion" killing. However, in this case, prosecutors have changed the charges against the three to murder. Second degree murder is defined as an intentional killing but lacking in the heat of passion element, or a murder committed with conduct showing a lack of regard for human life. First degree murder is an intentional killing that is willful and premeditated. Premeditation can be evidenced by any form of planning. In this case, perhaps the involvement of the teen with the camera might be used to show the attackers had a plan to do harm and to record it.
Bail has been set for the suspects but further information on additional or specific charges has not been given. The motive for the killing is still a topic of investigation and discussion. "I know bad things happen all the time, everywhere, but it's unusual here," Neil Rodriguez, the manager of The Wine List, who knew Mazaniego, told the AP. "It's a random act of violence, there's not a lot of racial strife in this town," he said. "I'd like to see the parents that produced such monsters," he added.