- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 11, 2014

PATERSON, N.J. (AP) - A northern New Jersey man accused of stabbing another man during a street brawl last summer has pleaded not guilty to murder and weapons charges, claiming he acted in self-defense.

The Record (https://bit.ly/1lxTDxF) newspaper reports 20-year-old Jonathan Lafontaine of Totowa entered his pleas during a court appearance Tuesday. The charges were included in an indictment handed up last month by a Passaic County grand jury.

Passaic County prosecutors have said the stabbing occurred after a case of mistaken identity involving two groups of friends quickly turned violent.

Lafontaine’s lawyer, Douglas Anton, has said his client was not the aggressor and did not stab 18-year-old Brian Topoleski, who recently graduated from Cedar Grove High School. Anton has said Lafontaine tried to defuse the situation but was attacked by Topoleski.

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Information from: The Record (Woodland Park, N.J.), https://www.northjersey.com


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