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Garfield man charged in brawl stabbing at South Hackensack strip club pleads to lesser charge

Photo Credit: CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter Mary K. Miraglia
Photo Credit: CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter Mary K. Miraglia
Photo Credit: Courtesy BERGEN COUNTY SHERIFF (l. to r.: Ralph Carrion Jr., Benjamin Venegas, Anthony Pate, Ernest Brodie
Photo Credit: Anthony Erekat
Photo Credit: CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter Mary K. Miraglia)

ONLY ON CVP: Sporting a scar embedded in his scalp, a Garfield man originally accused of stabbing another man during a wild brawl at a South Hackensack strip club admitted having the knife — but said he couldn’t remember what happened after he got hit in the head with a hammer.

Raphael Carrion Jr (STORY / PHOTOS: CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter Mary K. Miraglia)

Raphael Carrion Jr., 28, pleaded guilty to illegal weapons possession in Hackensack yesterday in exchange for prosecutors dropping aggravated assault and other weapons charges for stabbing one of the combatants during the overnight Twins Lounge melee Jan. 27-28 of last year.

Prosecutors also agreed to time served when Carrion is sentenced March 16 — a year and two months.

A second Garfield defendant, 27-year-old Benjamin Venegas, meanwhile, said he was applying for pre-trial intervention to try and clear his record.

The brawl, in which Venegas and another man were deliberately hit by a car, brought a host of law enforcement agencies, led to charges against six men and produced a 22-count indictment returned by a grand jury in Hackensack in August.

MUGSHOTS: Courtesy BERGEN COUNTY SHERIFF (l. to r.: Ralph Carrion Jr., Benjamin Venegas, Anthony Pate, Ernest Brodie)

The most serious counts were brought against Ernest Brodie of Harrison and Anthony Pate of Belleville, who are each charged with the attempted murders of Carrion, Venegas and their friend, Lukasz Dziewiatkowski, also of Garfield.

Carrion and Venegas, meanwhile, were charged with aggravated assault against Pate.

Authorities said Pate and Brodie were with another man, Jesus Colon of Lyndhurst, when they got into a fight with Carrion and Venegas.

The brawl spilled outside the South Main Street bar, where Dziewiatkowski joined the melee, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said at the time.

CLIFFVIEW PILOT PHOTO: Anthony Erekat

Brodie then got into his car, parked near the bar, and “intentionally drove into” Dziewiatkowski on Saddle River Avenue before he “turned [it] around, returned to South Main Street, accelerated and intentionally struck Venegas with the vehicle,” the prosecutor said.

Four ambulances were needed to transport the injured.

Benjamin Venegas (STORY / PHOTOS: CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter Mary K. Miraglia)

Questioned by Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Danielle Grootenboer yesterday, Carrion said he regularly carried the knife for work.

He had it that night, he said, and used it after he and Venegas got into the fight.

“Then I put it back and went we outside,” Carrion said. “I don’t remember what happened after that. I woke up in the hospital.”

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RELATED:

A wild South Hackensack strip-club brawl in which two men were deliberately hit by a car, another was stabbed and a fourth was bashed in the head with a hammer has produced a 22-count indictment. READ MORE….

• Some of the damage that a South Hackensack bar fight wrought was revealed tonight by Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli in confirming an exclusive CLIFFVIEW PILOT report on Saturday about additional charges brought in a Jan. 28 brawl outside Twins Plus Lounge in South Hackensack. READ MORE….

• A man who was stabbed and another who was hit in the head with a hammer during a South Hackensack strip-club melee have been charged in connection with the brawl, CLIFFVIEW PILOT has learned. READ MORE….

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