Trenton man claims self defense in killing outside city bar

The man accused in the stabbing death of a 21-year-old man outside of a city bar is claiming he acted in self-defense, his attorney said at a bail hearing Friday.

Ernier Pacheco, 18, of Trenton, is accused of stabbing Alberto Saquic once in the chest outside Chapala II bar on Morris Avenue.

Assistant Prosecutor Lewis Korngut said prosecutors have not determined a motive for the killing, which took place in the early-morning hours of Nov. 30.

Korngut said the gruesome encounter was captured on surveillance. In it, Pacheco is reportedly seen striking Saquic not long after he had been escorted out of the bar by bouncers after he became unruly. While Saquic was laying on a ramp outside the bar being restrained by bouncers, Pacheco lunged at him with a knife, striking him once in the chest, Korngut said.

Seconds later, the victim gets off the ground and immediately slumps over, Korngut said. The victim was taken to a hospital where he died a short time later.

Police said they identified Pacheco as a suspect, in part because he showed particular interest in the crime and milled about the crime scene following the murder, Korngut said.

Pacheco matched a physical description given by witnesses, Korngut said. Police haven’t recovered the knife used in the attack.

Pacheco, who lived across the street from the bar, was also previously banished from the establishment for starting trouble with patrons, prosecutors said.

Pacheco’s attorney, Kathleen Redpath-Perez, said her client claims the victim was the aggressor and armed at the time of the attack. Korngut disputed that after the proceeding, saying the victim was unarmed and prosecutors are unaware of any prior history between the men, Prosecutors said

Pacheco, who is originally from the Dominican Republic, required an interpreter at his bail hearing, during which Judge Robert Billmeier maintained his bond at $750,000.

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