A prank for YouTube fame killed her boyfriend. Now she’s going to jail

Monalisa Perez
Monalisa Perez Northwest Regional Corrections Center

Pedro Ruiz III, 22, thought he had the perfect idea for a YouTube stunt.

But it ended up killing him.

On Friday, his girlfriend, Monalisa Perez, 20, pleaded guilty to firing a Desert Eagle .50-caliber handgun at Ruiz on June 26 as he held an encyclopedia over his chest while two cameras filmed outside their Halstad, Minn., home, according to The Twin Cities Pioneer Press. The bullet pierced the book, killing him.

Perez, who has since given birth to her second child with Ruiz, reached a plea agreement requiring her to spend 10 years on probation and serve six months in jail, the newspaper reported. She will serve half her jail time in 30-day increments each year for the next three years, with the remainder on electronic home monitoring.

The agreement also bars Perez from owning firearms for life and from profiting off the video, reported ABC News. She’ll be formally sentenced in February.

“They were in love, they loved each other,” Claudia Ruiz, Pedro Ruiz’s aunt, told CBS affiiliate Valley News Live earlier this year. “It’s just a prank gone wrong. It shouldn’t have happened like this. It shouldn’t have happened at all.”

Ruiz and Perez had a YouTube channel devoted to stunts and pranks. The channel, which remains active although no new videos have been posted since June, has nearly 23,000 subscribers. The final posted video, titled “Doing Scary Stunts At The Fair,” has been viewed more than 1.8 million times. Authorities have not released the fatal shooting video.

Perez told investigators that Ruiz convinced her to take part in the deadly stunt by showing her a different book he’d shot, which the bullet failed to penetrate, reported The Twin Cities Pioneer Press. At 2 p.m. on June 26, Perez posted to Twitter, “Me and Pedro are probably going to shoot one of the most dangerous videos ever HIS idea not MINE.”

Perez, who was pregnant with their second child at the time, fired the pistol at Ruiz from a foot away as he held a hardcover encyclopedia over his chest, reported The Minneapolis Star Tribune. Their 3-year-old daughter was nearby.

Ruiz collapsed with a fatal chest wound and Perez called 911, the paper reported. “We were doing a YouTube video, and it went wrong,” Perez told dispatchers. “It’s all on recording.”

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