UPDATE: Galloway Man Found Guilty of Murder After Throwing Daughter Off Bridge

Shamsiddin Abdur-Raheem has been found guilty following nearly a week of jury deliberations.

GALLOWAY, NJ — A New Jersey man accused of murder by throwing his three-month old daughter off a bridge on the Garden State Parkway has been found guilty of murder, Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced Friday afternoon.

Shamsiddin Abdur-Raheem, 24, of Galloway, had been accused of murder by throwing his daughter, Zara Malani-Lin Abdur Raheem, out of the passenger side of his Dodge Caravan off the Alfred E. Driscoll Bridge on the Garden State Parkway in Woodbridge Township 140 feet in the Raritan River on Feb. 16, 2010.

The van was parked on the shoulder of the Parkway when he threw her out the window, Chiesa said.

He was found guilty by a Middlesex County jury following a two-week trial and four days of deliberation.

Vanetta Benjamin, Zara's mother, gave a brief statement to a room full of press on Friday afternoon, thanking the law enforcement and legal teams involved in the case.

Surrounded by law officials and members of her family, Benjamin, ended her statement by saying “God is good.”

She did not take questions from reporters.

Chiesa said the verdict showed the value placed on Zara’s life.

“Today, justice was granted for baby Zara,” he said, describing the verdict as one that “does not prompt celebration,” but still necessary.

Chiesa said he hoped the verdict brought “some measure of peace,” to Zara’s family.

Deputy Attorney General Andrew C. Fried said that he was asked why the verdict took time to be returned, which he said reflected a serious and attentive jury.

Abdur-Raheem was also found guilty of kidnapping and two counts of simple assault in connection of the kidnapping of his daughter from an East Orange apartment belonging to the baby's grandmother, Chiesa said.

The baby was living with her mother and grandmother in the apartment.

He was acquitted of the charge of attempted murder of the baby's grandmother, but he was convicted of assault and assault with an automobile, according to Chiesa.

Fried said Abdur-Raheem faces 30 years to life in state prison on the murder charge, plus a consecutive sentence of up to 30 years on the kidnapping charge.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 7, he said.

“We are grateful to the jurors, who had to listen and watch as the heartbreaking events in this tragic case of domestic violence were re-created, and who by their verdict delivered justice for Zara, her mother and the grandmother who tried to defend her,” Chiesa said in a release. “Our attorney, detectives and entire trial team deserve great credit for their skilled handling of this case.  It’s important that, by their efforts, they affirmed that Zara’s life was of great value and asserted that the man who took her life must face the full consequences of his crime.”

“From the moment police heard that a baby was thrown from the Driscoll Bridge, this case commanded our attention,” Division of Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor said in a release. “The rescue efforts sadly were doomed, but an excellent team of investigators and attorneys, led by members of the State Police Major Crime Unit and the Division of Criminal Justice and assisted by other law enforcement agencies, immediately began a painstaking pursuit of evidence and justice, which has brought us to this verdict.”

Vanetta Benjamin had custody of the baby and had procured a restraining order against Abdur-Raheem the day the baby was killed, Chiesa said. At the time of the kidnapping, the baby was being watched by the grandmother, Leno Benjamin, Chiesa said.

Abdur-Raheem went to the apartment around 4 p.m. that day, Chiesa said. According to Chiesa, Benjamin asked Abdur-Raheem to leave, but he refused. He then grabbed her arm before striking the 60-year-old Benjamin in the head, choked her and kidnapped his daughter.

Surveillance video shows Benjamin followed Abdur-Raheem out of the apartment and attempted to stop him, but he struck her with the van, Chiesa said.

He then headed south. After throwing his daughter into the river, he went to Atlantic City to see his imam, his Islamic religious leader, and confessed to him what he had done, according to Chiesa. The imam drove him to the home of his parents, where he confessed to his parents as well, Chiesa said.

He was arrested by State Police at 8 p.m. that night. The baby's body was found by surveyors two months later, on April 24, 2010.

An autopsy determined that she died from blunt force trauma and drowning, Chiesa said.

During the trial, Abdur-Raheem testified that his daughter appeared to be dead before he tossed her from the bridge.  He said she fell to the floor and hit her head when he was tussling with the grandmother, Chiesa said.

Nathaniel Forrest September 08, 2012 at 10:59 PM
BIGGER QUESTION?? Why did the MORONS on the jury have to be sent back THREE times for what was a crystal clear case of guilt?
facehead September 08, 2012 at 11:40 PM
This has less to do with race and religion than a man who would do ANYTHING to hurt the mother of his child. He hates the mother, so he kills the child. This man didn't want to be loved, he wanted to be WORSHIPPED so when he didn't get the worship he wanted, he killed the baby girl
drof2th September 09, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Isn't this is what many people call late term abortion, just a few months earlier! Either way is dispicable!!!
Robert Malcolm Menefee September 09, 2012 at 12:43 AM
To New Jersey Voters: You need to bring back "Old Smokey". as death is the only just punishment for killers like this.Some liberals will say that capital punishment somehow cheapens the value of human life.Well,our laws do indeed cheapen the value of INNOCENT human life when we are too kind to those who so randomly take it. I think its totally insane that the life of an adult murderer is placed at a higher value than that of an innocent child.
CAMERON September 09, 2012 at 01:18 AM
I agree to easy.
Lisa September 09, 2012 at 01:21 AM
Any parent that murders a child shouldn`t live to see tomorrow`s sunrise.
christinedahll September 09, 2012 at 01:37 AM
whatever the reason was he is the cause. It's so sad when life never gets to grow to it's full potential. I feel so badly for that mother and grandmother!
John Jay September 09, 2012 at 01:38 AM
Is this man a U.S. citizen/Muslim convert or is he in this country illegally?
christinedahll September 09, 2012 at 01:43 AM
Here's the problem I have with this. Are we a more violent society because we give out weak punishments, or punishments that seem weak? Or would the violence be here anyway. I then to think it's the former. I really do. I don't think the penalty makes the criminal decide not to do it. If that were the case there wouldn't be murder. I am so sick of reading stories like this one. Then the idiot said she looked dead? So what? My God the first thing I would have done is drive to a hospital and make sure my child is ok. He was entrusted with that child here on earth what right does he have to take it's life. God Bless that baby.
John Jay September 09, 2012 at 01:58 AM
Thank Jon Corzine and the criminal-loving Democrats for removing the only real deterrent to mutants that prey on children: the death penalty. Hey -- what do you expect from a political party that supports impeached and disbarred former Presidents and wants to re-elect a President who couldn't pass a background check to be a janitor at the FBI!
Joan Bogorae September 09, 2012 at 02:04 AM
There is no punishment enough for the horrific thing he did to that innocent baby. He needs to suffer terribly ,then be tossed into a blazing fire.
uncommonsensesc September 09, 2012 at 04:45 AM
Justice was NOT served - anything less than a bullet to the brain is not justice for that little girl!!! And yes, I would be more than glad to volunteer my services for free!
. September 09, 2012 at 04:48 AM
What in the world does Obama have to do with this?
Murray Le Murr-mur September 09, 2012 at 05:22 AM
is there a bridge between the court and prison :-)
Martin Lowing September 09, 2012 at 05:41 AM
Parents murder there children everyday,they just call it abortion.And yes some of these children could live outside the womb.So its not much difference then throwing the children off a bridge
Martin Lowing September 09, 2012 at 05:55 AM
Im a democrat and I support the death penalty.As for impeached presidents Bill Clinton was one of the best presidents this country ever had and the smartest,thats why he left our country in the black and no unfinshed wars and a great economy.Its to bad GW came along and screwed everything up. While the repubs in congress were tying up the whole country osama was busy making his plans for 9/11.What a shame
Tina September 09, 2012 at 07:36 AM
RCL67 you got that right, he might as well hang himself in jail because the others will take care of him soon enough!!! RIP Sweet baby :(
Tami Hunter September 09, 2012 at 08:16 AM
Where do you all get the idea that baby rapers/killers will "get what they have coming in prison"? If that were true, there would be NO baby rapers/killers in there, yet there are hundreds and hundreds already in there and more going in every day and the reason that more and more are willing to go to prison for that sick thrill is because they are NOT put in with the other prisoners. They are segregated (separated) for their safety. If they allowed the scum to be hurt, the scums family will sue the prison system. After all, even scum have rights. Just ask the bleeding hearts. If it were up to me, as soon as the jury said guilty, the scum would be taken out back and shot.
Carole Briscoe September 09, 2012 at 09:30 AM
You are exactly right, these low-life system abusers know that they will be separated in prison and put into single cells etc. It makes me sick to think about that poor little girl, God bless her and may her moronic father rot in hell.
MichaelZarathustra September 09, 2012 at 10:37 AM
Tie his hands behind his back, and throw him off the same bridge.....
John Jay September 09, 2012 at 11:12 AM
Martin Lowing -- Clinton had the chance to grab Bin Laden too -- and turned it DOWN. You need to know your history, pal.
Lenn Liggins September 09, 2012 at 01:05 PM
This is a man who on a rocket to hell and let's hope the boys on the inside get some justice.
Texas NDN September 09, 2012 at 01:39 PM
He has a severe cranial lead deficency. Hopefully someone will cure it.
Littleone September 09, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Such a sad story, To bad the same jury was not in Florida about a year ago. seems they had their eyes wide open.
2much2say September 09, 2012 at 06:22 PM
What a horrible act!.. I must say that this has not one thing to with religion or politics. Most of you view the world as it were perfect but I must tell you that these people are born with this sickness. Do you think you would wake up one day and say umm, today I'm going to molest a child? No, you are Born with this sickness. Just how some of you believe you can pray away the gay. C'mon people wake up already it's 2012 things have changed. This man is sick to the core of his heart. He will defiantly get his. RIP little baby girl!
D September 09, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Dear GOD.... Sometimes you do make mistakes........WHAT PLANET DID THIS CRETIN COME FROM??? What nature of human being throws an infant off a bridge??? If I'm the judge.....LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE IN A HARD LABOR MAXIMUM SECURITY PRISON or LETHAL INJECTION. We don't need people like this on the planet. Period.
joani mitchell September 10, 2012 at 01:34 AM
john jay this story was about a little girl that was murdered and her family has to read your tripe about obama and clinton and all your wacked out political theories. do you think the family of this little girl want to read how you used this story to push your tea party gibberish? give it a rest already.
-She September 11, 2012 at 03:17 AM
I couldn't agree more!!!
al davis September 11, 2012 at 12:56 PM
was it absolutely necessary to give him a trial? just throw him off the same bridge
Joe R September 11, 2012 at 02:13 PM
We live in a country that believes in laws and that assumes that a suspect is innocent until proven guilty. We do not believe in a crazed blood-thirsty lynch mob ready to string up someone without a trial. We go through this nonsense every time some horrible act of criminality occurs; people in the comments section screaming for blood, mob rule and vigilante "justice." Even the worst criminal monster is entitled to legal representation, due process and a trial. Because it does happen that innocent people have been accused and if you or anybody were falsely accused, you would want due process and a fair trial. I am appalled and enraged at this heinous act of depravity and cruelty but we do have a legal system in place which should be respected.


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