CRIME

Man sentenced to prison after fatal bulletproof vest stunt

A man who pleaded guilty to shooting his friend in a video stunt involving a bulletproof vest has been sentenced to prison.

Mark Ramiro was sentenced to four years on Monday after pleading guilty to second-degree murder last year, The Baltimore Sun reported.

Prosecutors said Ramiro and his friends intended to shoot a "Jackass"-style video stunt in their Baltimore basement in 2014. His friend, Darnell Mitchell, strapped on a bulletproof vest and instructed Ramiro to shoot him in the chest. Ramiro aimed too high, however, and shot Mitchell in the upper chest.

Ramiro and other friends rushed him to the hospital, but Mitchell later died. Ramiro had stayed at the hospital and was taken into custody.

Ramiro's attorney, Christopher Flohr, says Ramiro was initially arrested on a first-degree murder charge. Flohr told Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Melissa Phinn that Ramiro was confronting substance abuse problems and had completed a 28-day treatment program and had enrolled in a yearlong program. He argued that Ramiro should be spared prison to continue with the program.

Judge Phinn compared the shooting to a friend causing another friend's death in a crash while driving under the influence. Assistant State's Attorney Gerard Volatile added: "People (will) think this is a joke if nothing happens to him."

Ramiro's full sentence was nine years with five years suspended.