Video released of engagement party stabbing

April 23, 2012 2:17:20 PM PDT
For the first time, video is released of the fight that led to the deadly stabbing of a groom-to-be on the night of his engagement party on Staten Island.

The video shows the enormous white limousine after the couple and their guests stopped outside a Staten Island restaurant.

What happens next is visible from two cameras; the video was later posted on YouTube.

A crowd surrounded the restaurant manager and his friend, Redinel Dervishaj, and a fight broke out.

Dervishaj apparently got thrown across a car, before he takes off down an alley alongside the restaurant.

He tried to get inside his car, but decided it was too late and races toward the kitchen door where he grabbed a knife and stabbed one of the men.

Moments later, the man staggered back down the alley and collapsed on the sidewalk.

Antonio Lacertosa, the groom-to-be, would be dead in a matter of minutes. In the video, a knife is clearly-visible.

Police arrested Dervishaj, but a grand jury later concluded he acted in self-defense. That determination was based largely on the surveillance video.

"Without the video at this point I think surely we'd have an indictment of murder in the second degree," said Thomas Reilly, Dervishaj's attorney.

Dervishaj's lawyer says his client was simply trying to get away.

"It's not like Florida where there is a stand your ground statute, you have to show that you tried to leave to flee the scene, and in this case you see him repeatedly fleeing the scene," Reilly said.

Lacertosa's family later released a statement saying:

Statement on behalf of the Lacertosa Family:

"There have been numerous requests for interviews today in light of yesterdays release of the surveillance videos from the crime scene. The family is in deep mourning for Anthony and simply cannot address each and every individual request for an interview.

While the crime scene video causes even more pain, at the same time, it unequivocally proves that both the killer Redinel Dervishaj and the Espana manager Ridi Zeneli were the aggressors and protagonists.

The video shows several young men outside of the restaurant minding their own business and keeping to themselves while having a cigarette. It also clearly shows a pickup truck speeding up on to the sidewalk and into the alley in a very aggressive fashion. Dervishaj and Zeneli are seen getting out of the pickup truck and aggressively moving toward the young men. The first physical contact is initiated by the Espana employees and that it is only thereafter that a fight ensued. The video also clearly shows that the killer Dervishaj had a full opportunity to leave the scene, call the police and retreat. Rather than running away from the scene the killer is seen running down the alley to the back of the restaurant where he grabbed a knife and senselessly murdered Anthony. The killer Dervishaj leaves the scene and flees to Chicago knowing full well that he had just murdered an innocent man.

In order to have a full understanding of the facts in this case, the full video must be viewed. We do not understand why the Staten Island Advance has seen fit to edit the video eliminating the first portion of it for publication on its website.

More importantly, we are mystified by the District Attorneys inability to get an indictment in this case based upon the strength of the evidence contained in the video. If the grand jury was shown the entire video they had no reasonable choice but to indict the defendant. We are equally mystified that there were no lesser included charges that could have put the killer behind bars for some significant period of time and that no charges have been filed against Ridi. Allowing the killer of a 27 year old hard working family man who was out celebrating his engagement to go free is a gross injustice.

We will live forever knowing that there was no justice in this case but we know that Anthony is in a better place."

Lacertosa's brother in-law spoke with Eyewitness News shortly after the incident.

"He was the glue. He was the glue for this family. He took this family on his back," said Jamie Caruvan, the victim's brother-in-law.

The Staten Island DA said, "His death was a tragic and senseless end to a night that began as a celebration of a young couple's new life together."

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