Wannabe YouTube star jailed over boyfriend's botched shooting stunt death

Greg Lawrence
March 18, 2018

A YouTube "prankster" has been jailed for just six months after she shot her boyfriend dead in a botched stunt they had hoped would go viral. Perez told police that Ruiz had to convince her to go through with the stunt and showed her a different book that stopped the bullet. Of note, the couple's three-year-old child was among the 30 onlookers who watched the stunt, which was captured by two cameras, unfold.

Brue told the Star-Tribune Monday, "I expect her to be sentenced with what is outlined [in the December 2017 plea agreement]".

Monalisa Perez shot Pedro Ruiz in the chest with a Desert Eagle for a YouTube prank in Halstad, Minnesota, last year. Pedro dared her to fire a handgun from a foot away as he held a book to his chest that he thought would stop the bullet.

Perez, who was pregnant with the couple's second child at the time of the shooting, is also banned for life from owning firearms and will be on probation for 10 years.

Norman County Attorney James Brue said that the sentence - which falls below state sentencing guidelines for this sort of crime - was adequate, given the circumstances that led to Ruiz's death. An aunt of Ruiz told WDAY-TV she questioned him about the motive behind performing such a stunt and he responded that it was exclusively to attract a YouTube audience.

The judge gave MonaLisa Perez the opportunity to address the courtroom, but she said no.

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The prosecutor handling Perez's case said Ruiz's family members signed off on the plea deal.

According to the woman, the whole YouTube stunt was her boyfriend's idea and that she agreed to do it after the man reassured her that it's totally safe.

Perez and Ruiz were recording the stunt for their YouTube channel which published videos of their daily lives and pranks.

The two cameras that Ruiz had set up recorded the shooting, but investigators have so far withheld multiple videos of the incident. Since Ruiz's death, the view counts on the videos have gone up and the comments sections are dominated by remarks about the shooting.

A few hours before the incident, Perez also tweeted that they were about to do their most unsafe stunt ever, adding that it was Ruiz's idea.

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