PATERSON, N.J. - A Paterson teen who punched a man for fun while his friend taped the assault was sentenced Friday to three years in prison, said authorities.
The teen, Kristian Gonzalez, 18, must serve 85 percent of the term before becoming eligible for parole and then must serve three years of parole supervision after he is freed, said Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia Valdes. She said the sentence was imposed by state Superior Court Judge Ernest Caposela.
Gonzalez pleaded guilty Aug. 31 to one count of second-degree aggravated assault against Paterson resident Cesar Najara, a man Gonzalez didn't know but approached randomly and hit in the head for fun.
“Gonzalez could be seen on the video punching the 37-year old Cesar Najara in the head in a random act of violence,” said Valdes in a statement. “The punch briefly rendered the Mr. Najara unconscious, and left him with a half-inch laceration to his lip.”
As part of the sentence, Gonzalez was ordered to pay $1,499 in restitution to Najara for medical bills and lost wages, said the prosecutor. "Mr. Najara addressed the court during the sentencing hearing and expressed his gratitude to law enforcement for their help in the case," said Valdes.
The prosecutor said Gonzalez admitted his intent was to cause Najera serious bodily injury, and that he knew the blow rendered Najera unconscious when he “sucker punched” him during an assault captured on video and posted to the Internet earlier.
Najara was treated and released from a hospital after the assault, said the prosecutor.
As part of a plea bargain, Gonzalez waived jurisdiction of the case from Family Court to adult criminal court, but because the charges originated in Family Court, Gonzalez’s incarceration will take place in a Juvenile Justice Commission facility, said the prosecutor.