Three Jersey City teenagers have been charged with the murder of Ralph Erick Santiago, the Hoboken man who was found last Tuesday with his head stuck between two spikes in an iron fence on 3rd Street, Hudson County Acting Prosecutor Gaetano T. Gregory said.
Police believe the teens, two 13-year-olds and a 14-year-old, were playing the dangerous game of "knockout," in which participants attempt to knock out an unsuspecting pedestrian with a single punch, when one of the boys struck Santiago from behind with a fatal blow to the head. The punch sent Santiago onto the fence, where his neck became wedged between two fence posts, Gregory said. His body was found slumped on the fence just before 6 p.m. on Sept. 10.
Two of the teens turned themselves in Thursday and the third surrendered on Friday, two days after the prosecutor's office released surveillance video of three persons of interest in the murder, the Jersey Journal reported.
All three juveniles were charged with murder and have been sent to the Hudson County Youth Detention Center, Gregory said.
Santiago, a former Garden Street resident who had since become homeless, was a breakdancer and gymnast before suffering a traumatic brain injury in a similar attack 27 years ago, The Jersey Journal reported.
A prayer service for Santiago was held Friday at the Bosworth Funeral Home on Willow Avenue.