Manasquan, N.J. – In April, we reported on the incident involving Parker Drake, a 19-year-old man with autism, who was persuaded by two men to jump into an icy ocean and to stay there for a minute in exchange for two packs of cigarettes and $20. Our report, Young man with autism persuaded by peers to jump in icy ocean, can be read here.
It has now come to light that one of the two men who is accused of coaxing Parker to jump off the jetty, has been separated from the U.S. Air Force, in order to allow the municipal court case against the two men to move forward.
On Tuesday May 19, Municipal Judge Paul J. Capotorto told that the trial of Christopher Tilton and Nicholas Formica, will be scheduled for July or early August.
Tilton, 20, was separated from the military after questions were posed to the Air Force about him by the Asbury Park Press.
Both Tilton and Formica, are accused of offering Parker two packets of cigarettes and $20 in order for him to jump off the jetty in Manasquan, The incident happened on Feb 25.
The two men filmed the incident which was then posted onto Snapchat, a social media website.
Christine Marshall, Parker’s mother, told that her son could have died that day because of the actions of these two men. He could have drowned, suffered hypothermia, or because his insulin pump could have froze. Parker is am insulin dependent diabetic.
The trial was originally set for April 28, however Tilton had already enlisted into the Air Force for basic training. Asbury Park Press contacted Air Force officials to find out if they were aware of Tilton’s pending court case and indeed the incident. They informed Asbury Park Press that no charges appeared on a report of a police record check on him, that was done prior to him entering basic training.
Air Force officials told that if they had known about the pending charges, he would not have been allowed to enter basic training.
Tilton’s attorney, Alton D. Kenney, told that he believes there will not be sufficient evidence in which to prove that Parker suffers from a mental disease or mental defect.
If the two men are found guilty, the maximum punishment would be six months in jail.
The below video shows live footage of the harrowing incident, that you may find disturbing.
Source: Kathleen Hopkins on the app.com website: Man accused in autistic plunge is out of Air Force