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Not Guilty Plea in Summer Street Brawl

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.

Jonathan Lafontaine (Passaic County Sheriff’s Department)

The Record 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.

(Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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