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Sentencing awaits Minnesota mom who killed boyfriend during YouTube stunt

Paul Walsh, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in News & Features

MINNEAPOLIS -- A 20-year-old woman is expected to be told she can never touch a firearm again Wednesday in her sentencing for fatally shooting the father of her two children during a YouTube stunt gone awry that they video-recorded outside their northwestern Minnesota home.

Monalisa Perez pleaded guilty in Norman County District Court in December to killing 22-year-old Pedro Ruiz III on June 26 in Halstad as part of a scheme to propel him to internet fame. Two cameras captured the shooting at the couple's house in Halstad.

The plea agreement calls for her to spend 180 days in jail and stays a four-year sentence.

Also, Perez cannot "make any financial compensation" from the recording of Ruiz's death and is "banned from possessing firearms for the rest of her life," according to the plea deal.

Perez, who retains custody of their two small children, will serve her six-month term 30 days per year for the next three years and then become eligible to serve the rest on electronic home monitoring, as long as she abides by the terms of her 10-year supervised probation.

Norman County Attorney James Brue said Monday, "I expect her to be sentenced with what is outlined" in the plea agreement.

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Members of Ruiz's family are expected to give statements to the court during sentencing before Judge Jeffrey Remick, the prosecutor said.

"We had talked about this resolution (with Ruiz's relatives), and they indicated they were in support of it," Brue added.

For the stunt, Ruiz held a hardcover encyclopedia against his chest. Perez, standing barely a foot away, squeezed off a shot from a .50-caliber Desert Eagle pistol, to see whether the bullet would go through the book. The Desert Eagle is described by retailer Cabela's in an online ad as "one of the world's most powerful semiautomatic handguns."

The bullet pierced the book, and Ruiz fell mortally wounded. Perez called 911.


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