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Alleged assailant arrested at C-store

WORTHINGTON -- A man wanted by authorities in connection to a month-old assault case was arrested Friday for possession of a small amount of marijuana.

A warrant was issued last week for Nery Ontoneil Perez, aka Nery Ontoneil Hernandez-Perez, 19. Perez was to have voluntarily left the country and returned to his home country in early November, but authorities believed he went into hiding instead. He was picked up shortly before 2 p.m. at the Casey's East store on Oxford Street.

Charges were filed against Perez last week for riot, assault, unlawful assembly and disorderly conduct. Also facing charges in connection to the Nov. 4 assault are Ramon Cesar Barraza, 21, and Gabriel Miranda Jr., 18.

Barraza was also charged last week, and faces counts of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, third-degree assault with substantial bodily harm, two counts of riot, unlawful assembly and disorderly conduct. Miranda was charged just days after the incident in November, and is looking at charges of assault, riot, unlawful assembly and disorderly conduct.

The complaint states authorities were called to the emergency room at Sanford Regional Hospital Worthington just shortly after noon because of a reported assault. The victim said he had been walking by the Alternative Learning Center (ALC) when a green SUV pulled up by him. The three men got out and allegedly started fighting with him. He got Miranda to back off, he told authorities, but the other two hit him from behind. He thought Barraza hit him with brass knuckles or some kind of steel object. He fell to the ground and blacked out, he said, and when he came to, the three men were kicking and punching him.

Miranda and Barraza allegedly dragged the victim to an area between two houses, with Perez allegedly kicking him in the ribs while they were doing so. Barraza allegedly stood outside the vehicle and recorded the incident with a hand-held camera, the victim reported.

The officer noted the victim had a wound the size of a quarter on his head and blood running down his face. On his left arm was a zig-zag pattern that appeared to be from a shoe. Three staples were needed to close the head wound.

Authorities located Miranda, who said he had only defended himself against the victim. The pattern on Miranda's shoe appeared to match the pattern on the victim's arm.

Miranda was arrested, and elected to give a statement. He said the victim had been calling him names the week before, so when he saw him walking he wanted to talk to him about it. Instead, Miranda said, the victim laughed and took a swing at him.

While he admitted he was with Perez and Barraza, Miranda said he was the only one that hit the victim. A search warrant on Barraza's vehicle revealed a tire iron wrapped with tape under the center console. Bail was set in November at $20,000 for Miranda. His next court appearance is Feb. 9. Barraza was released on his own recognizance and has his next appearance Dec. 23.