Charges have been upgraded against seven gang-related suspects already jailed in connection with the stabbing death of a man in Reading over the weekend.
Third degree murder and homicide charges were filed Wednesday against Jefferson Capellan Ofarril, Guillermo Almanza-Gonzalez, Jesus Lopez-Perez, Jesus Quintero, Hector Samot, Luis Antonio Segura Jr. and Iziah Segura, Berks County District Attorney John Adams said.
Adams announced the charges in a joint news conference with Reading police.
The suspects, according to police, jumped and attacked Israel Maisonet in the 300 block of South Sixth Street in Reading early Saturday morning.
The attack, police said, followed a fistfight that was agreed upon between the victim and one of the suspects.
But, police said when Maisonet kicked Cappellan-Ofarril a second time six others joined in the fight.
"The group acted in concert by punching and kicking Mr. Maisonet directing him to a porch and leaving him with no escape," said Adams.
Maisonet, 23, was stabbed in the neck and later died of his injury.
Although police do not know who stabbed Maisonet, they are charging all seven men with third degree murder.
"We believe these individuals acted as accomplices or co-conspirators. They acted together and they are all criminally responsible for the death of the victim in this situation," said Adams.
According to police, all seven suspects are gang members in Thugs Money Goons and South Money Goons.
"They have been involved in the distribution of controlled substances in that area of the city. They have been involved in robberies, burglaries and assaults throughout the city of Reading," said Adams.
Police said Maisonet was not involved in a gang.
All seven suspects are behind bars with some of their bails set at $1 million. The men will be arraigned on the new charges.
In addition to third degree murder, they are being charged with aggravated assault, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person.