A northern New Jersey man accused of stabbing another man during a street brawl 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 Wednesday.

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

But Lafontaine's lawyer, Douglas Anton, strongly disputed that account. Speaking after the hearing, Anton told reporters that his client was not the aggressor and did not stab 18-year-old Brian Topoleski, who recently graduated from Cedar Grove High School.

Lafontaine remains jailed on $1.5 million cash bail.


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