Monalisa Perez, a 20-year-old Minnesota woman, has been charged with second-degree manslaughter and sentenced to 180 days in jail for fatally shooting her boyfriend, 22-year-old Pedro Ruiz, for a YouTube vlog. The couple had a YouTube channel in which they did pranks, stunts, and challenges—the idea was to show "the real life of a young couple who happen to be teen parents.” In June of last year, the couple thought up a stunt in which Perez would shoot Ruiz while he held a book; he thought the book would stop the bullet, BuzzFeed News reports.
Perez was pregnant at the time of the failed YouTube stunt, and the couple already had one child. Ruiz had allegedly been trying to convince her to do the stunt for some time, and she eventually agreed after he showed her a book through which a bullet did not penetrate. On the day she agreed to do it, Ruiz set up two cameras in their house in the northwestern Minnesota town of Halstad.
She stood a foot away from him and discharged a .50 caliber Desert Eagle firearm. The bullet went through the book and hit Ruiz in the chest; she called 911, but Ruiz died at the scene. She pleaded guilty to the charge in December.
Norman County Attorney James Brue said that "this foolish stunt was dreamed up, planned, and executed by Pedro Ruiz, and the defendant wrongfully and tragically relied on his assurances that the stunt was safe,” the Star Tribune reported. Brue was satisfied that the final sentence held Perez accountable for "culpable negligence that led to the tragic and completely avoidable death."
Perez has retained custody of her two children with Ruiz, and her sentence includes a couple different elements. For starters, she will be on probation for 10 years and is banned from ever possessing a firearm again. She will not be legally allowed to receive any financial compensation for either telling her story or eventually selling recording of her boyfriend’s death. Finally, she will be allowed to serve her 180-day sentence in 10-day increments.