Galloway Man Confessed To Throwing Baby Off Parkway Bridge, Officials Say
Opening arguments in trial of Shamsiddin Abdur-Raheem began
Shamsiddin Abdur Raheem of Galloway confessed at least five times that he threw his 3-month-old daughter off a bridge on the Garden State Parkway, into a river, in February 2010, a jury heard today in New Brunswick, according to The Star-Ledger.
State Deputy Attorney General Andrew Fried outlined in his opening remarks the confessions and other evidence he has that Abdur-Raheem, 24, is guilty of the murder of Zara Malani-Lin Abdur-Raheem, and the attempted murder of the child's grandmother, Leno Benjamin, who was then 60, according to The Star-Ledger.
For more on the court arguments, click here.
Abdur-Raheem's attorney, Michael Priarone, asked the jury to "keep an open mind," during the presentation of testimony and that, in the end, the jurors will "have reasonable doubt" that Abdur-Raheem is guilty of murder and that there is "no evidence" that he tried to kill Benjamin, according to The Star-Ledger.
Abdur-Raheem is accused of throwing his daughter, Zara, from the Driscoll Bridge on the Garden State Parkway on Feb. 16, 2010.
Arguments began after 9 a.m. before Superior Court Judge Bradley J. Ferencz in New Brunswick.
Abdur-Raheem is charged with murder, kidnapping and endangering the welfare of a child.
He is also charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault for allegedly attacking the baby’s maternal grandmother and striking her with his vehicle while abducting the infant from the grandmother’s apartment in East Orange.
Abdur-Raheem has been jailed on more than $2 million bail.
Prosecutors say the man abducted the 3-month-old from her grandmother’s East Orange home on Feb. 16, 2010. He assaulted the 60-year-old grandmother and ran her down with a van as he made off with the infant.
Abdur-Raheem, then 21, then drove to the Driscoll Bridge. The baby’s body was found April 24, 2010.
The crime occurred, authorities said, as Zara’s mother was in court seeking a restraining order against Abdur-Raheem.
Grand jurors indicted Abdur-Raheem on six counts in August 2010. (Click on the PDF, right, to view the indictment.)
Abdur-Raheem and the baby’s mother, Venetta Benjamin, were both students at Richard Stockton College, where they met. He was a criminal justice major, and she graduated with an economics degree in 2009.