April Fool’s Day — and all the pranks, jokes, and fake headlines that come with it — is upon us once again. Be careful! Sometimes silly stunts can cross the line and result in dangerous situations and serious consequences for those who participate.
Here are five pranks that started out as jokes and ended with arson, arrests, and even murder.
Couple Fakes Murder Scene With Ketchup, Causes Panic
An Ohio couple was charged with inducing panic after police say they staged an elaborate fake murder in the bathtub using ketchup (above). Micah Risner allegedly poured the condiment all over his fiancée Nataleigh Schlette and then sent photos around on social media saying he had killed her.
Police were called by three “hysterical” family members and friends who thought the so-called murder a was real crime scene. A number of officers showed up to the couple’s home before discovering that the scene in their bathtub had been staged as a practical joke. Both Risner and Schlette were arrested and charged with inducing panic. They pleaded not guilty. [DailyMail.com]
Man Fatally Stabs Coworker After Victim Pulls A Chair Out From Under Him
A man stabbed a coworker to death at a Montgomery County meat-processing plant a day after authorities say the victim tried to pull a chair out from under him as a prank. Peter Jok Atem, 32, was charged with the murder of 25-year-old Danny Vazquez. Investigators said that a day before the fatal stabbing, Vazquez tried to pull a chair out from under Atem, and Atem threatened Vazquez with: “I’m going to get you for that.”
The following day, while working at the MOPAC Rendering Plant in Franconia Township, a witness saw the two men having a physical confrontation. Vazquez was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. Investigators say they found a knife and handwritten note that read, in part, “see you in hell. life for life.” [ABC 6]
Firecracker Prank Ends In Fire, Death
What allegedly started as a prank ended with a blazing fire, a fatality — and a Connecticut teen charged in connection with the death of a friend’s sister. Eric Morelli, 18, was arrested after police concluded he was responsible for the death of 19-year-old Kristen Milano. Milano, 19, was killed after a deadly fire that destroyed her apartment. Morelli, who is friends with the late teen’s brother, allegedly threw a lit sparkler through a window of the second-floor apartment to wake up his friend.“Firefighters made entry. They made it to the second floor, were confronted by very high heat, very punishing conditions, and during the fire attack they found her in one of the bedrooms,” Southington Fire Department Lieutenant Glenn Dube told reporters. [The Huffington Post]
Notorious “Woman Murders Boyfriend Who Proposed To Her” Prank Turns Out To Be Hoax
On April 2, 2016, several sites reported that a New York woman named Lisa Estevez had shot and killed her boyfriend the day before after what she thought was going to be a marriage proposal was revealed as an April Fool’s Day prank. According to “authorities,” Estevez was said to have shot her boyfriend Ray Jordan after he apparently got on his knees and proposed to her, only to then open the engagement-ring box to reveal the words “April Fools” written inside — no engagement ring to be found. But, in a twist, the item was sourced back to NotAllowedTo, a website that only publishes fake news stories. No one was dead, and Estevez’s “mug shot” was actually taken from an unrelated public arrest notice from December 2015. [Snopes.com]
Woman “Pranks” Daughter By Telling Her There’s A Shooting At Her SchoolAngela Timmons texted her daughter on April 1, 2014, and claimed she could hear gun shots being fired at Virginia Colleges in Spartanburg County, where she worked.
Angela’s daughter April was unable to reach her mother after receiving the message, so she called 911 — being a more responsible person than her mother, it seems.
Instead of laughing about it later, Timmons was arrested on charges including aggravated breach of peace and disturbing a school. [Metro]
Let these unfortunate incidents serve as cautionary tales this April Fool’s Day — is playing a trick on someone really worth it?
Main photo: Nataleigh Schlette in staged murder scene [Sandusky Police Department]