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Mom Pleads Guilty in Fatal YouTube Prank

Photograph by Twenty20

A young mother of two has pleaded guilty after a YouTube prank went tragically wrong.

Back in June, 22-year-old Pedro Ruiz III and pregnant 19-year-old Monalisa Perez set up two cameras and prepped for a dangerous stunt they thought would be their breakthrough video.

While filming, Ruiz held a book to his chest while Perez, his girlfriend and the mother of his children, stood a foot away and fired a gold Desert Eagle .50 caliber pistol. Ruiz had tested it once before with a different book, but this time, the bullet didn't stop. It pierced Ruiz in the chest, and he was declared dead at the house.

On Friday, December 15, Perez pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter in Minnesota, according to the New York Times. The plea agreement reportedly calls for the mom of two to spend 180 days in jail with 10 years of supervised probation, although The Pioneer Press reports that a judge will make the final decision.

Perez also is reportedly barred from making any money from the video of Ruiz's death and is "banned from possessing firearms for the rest of her life."

According to CNN, the pregnant stay-at-home mom said Perez had been talking about it for a while and he finally convinced her to try the stunt after he tested it on the first book.

"Me and Pedro are probably going to shoot one of the most dangerous videos ever HIS idea not MINE," Perez tweeted the day of the stunt.

"They were in love. They loved each other. It was just a prank gone wrong. It shouldn't (have) happened like this. It shouldn't have happened at all," Ruiz's aunt, Claudia Ruiz, told Valley News Live. "He had told me about an idea. I said, 'Don't do it, don't do it. Why are you going to use a gun? Why?' [He said,] 'Because, we want more viewers.' I don't know why they thought the book was supposed to stop the bullet."


Don't got time for a filter #naturally

The Minnesota couple has a 3-year-old daughter and Perez was seven months pregnant with their second child. They started their YouTube channel, La MonaLisa, in March and vlogged about their day-to-day lives, and the ups and downs of "a young couple who happen to be teen parents." Up until the day of the shooting, their pranks were relatively minor, including Perez hiding hot peppers in an egg salad sandwich for Ruiz, Ruiz feigning paralysis at the store and both parents giving each other dirty dare challenges.

Their latest video, posted the day of the shooting, started off with Perez venting about a fight between the two, but things seemed brighter when they later went to the county fair, where Ruiz tried a few stunts.

"Funny how everyone knows you two now," Perez said in the video. "Imagine when we have 300,000 subscribers."

Other dangerous social media pranks have made headlines recently. In May, a YouTube couple lost custody of their kids after subjecting them to abusive pranks, and a few weeks ago, a man was sentenced for dangling a baby out of a window for Facebook likes.

After the prank went wrong, Perez called 911 at 6:30 p.m. and was charged with reckless discharge of a gun. The charge was then upgraded to second-degree manslaughter. The mom was released on a bail of $7,000 and was ordered to wear a GPS monitor and to stay away from firearms.

If Perez had been convicted in a criminal trial, the Times reports, she could have faced up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $20,000, or both.

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