Posted on September 23, 2013

3 Teens Charged in Beating Death of Homeless Man in N.J.

CBS New York, September 21, 2013

Three teenagers were in custody Saturday morning, on charges of beating a homeless man to his death in Hoboken, N.J.

As CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported, Hudson County Acting Prosecutor Gaetano T. Gregory said two 13-year-olds and a 14-year-old were charged in the Sept. 10 death of Ralph Eric Santiago, 46.

Police believe the teens were playing a sick game.


On Saturday morning, a bouquet of flowers marked the exact spot where Santiago’s head was found lodged between two posts on a wrought iron fence. {snip}

Santiago was followed by the three teens while walking on 3rd Street between Adams and Jefferson Streets in Hoboken on Sept. 10 when one of the juveniles threw a punch at Santiago’s head in what detectives believe was a game of “knockout.” Santiago then collapsed onto the fence, wedging his neck between two iron fence posts, where he died, the prosecutor said.


All three of the teens are from Jersey City. Homicide detectives believe they traveled on the Light Rail from Jersey City to Hoboken. {snip}


Santiago’s family said the father of one was a onetime gymnast and artist, but was disabled after being attacked 27 years ago in the Bronx.

[The victim’s ex-wife Tracy] Squillini told the Jersey Journal Santiago was attacked from behind while walking with friends in a public housing complex in the Bronx. His head was repeatedly pounded into the sidewalk, leaving him in a coma for a month, according to Squillini.

The beating caused him severe brain damage and he was never the same again, family members said.

Santiago had been evicted from his apartment last year.


All three teenage suspects have been charged with murder and have been remanded to the Hudson County Youth Detention Center, the prosecutor said.