MANASQUAN, N.J. – An attorney says a young autistic man in New Jersey was offered several choices before he jumped off a jetty into the freezing ocean as part of a prank.
During opening statements Tuesday, attorney Jason Volet said Parker Drake refused to eat a hamster for money or walk into the ocean from the beach for two packs of cigarettes. Instead, he said the 20-year-old decided to jump from the jetty for the cigarettes and $20.
Volet's client, Nicholas Formica, and Christopher Tilton are charged with endangering the welfare of an incompetent person. The 21-year-olds are accused of coaxing Drake to jump from the jetty in Manasquan in February 2015 and posting a video of the prank on social media.
The case led lawmakers to increase the penalty for the crime.