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Penis Injection Case: NJ Woman Denies Causing Man's Death

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By Andrew Chow, Esq. on September 13, 2012 6:46 AM

Kasia Rivera's penis-injection manslaughter case is moving forward, as the New Jersey woman has pleaded not guilty to causing a man's death.

Rivera, 35, of East Orange, N.J., printed fliers to advertise her unauthorized surgical services including penile enlargement, the Associated Press reports. Rivera had no medical license or training, prosecutors allege.

But that didn't stop her from injecting silicone into a 22-year-old man's penis in May 2011. Justin Street, a father of two from East Orange, died the next day.

An autopsy determined Street's death was caused by a silicone embolism -- a medical condition in which a blood vessel is blocked by a clot of silicone. It often occurs in patients who undergo illegal silicone injections, according to the medical journal Chest.

Street's death was ruled a homicide, and a grand jury indicted Rivera on a charge of reckless manslaughter, the AP reports. Rivera pleaded not guilty and remains free on $75,000 bail.

What is reckless manslaughter? It's a type of involuntary manslaughter, when a person's reckless or inherently dangerous act causes a victim's death.

Reckless manslaughter should not be confused for voluntary manslaughter, an intentional killing committed in the "heat of passion." It's also very different from murder, an intentional killing that was preplanned.

There are a few defenses to a charge of reckless manslaughter. Self-defense is one possibility, though it likely won't work in Kasia Rivera's penis injection case. Rivera's criminal defense lawyer may also try to take issue with prosecutors' evidence.

Rivera could also try to place blame on the victim, who allegedly consented to the procedure. But under New Jersey law, consent cannot be used as a defense when the agreed-upon act is illegal.

Kasia Rivera could face additional charges if more victims are identified. But so far, despite public pleas by investigators, no one has stepped forward.

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