Dad Who Threw Baby Off Driscoll Bridge Guilty
A jury has found a dad guilty of murdering his daughter by tossing the baby to her death off a bridge.
Shamsidden Abdur-Raheem was convicted Friday in New Brunswick in the death of 3-month-old Zara Malani-Lin Abdur-Raheem.
The jury found the 24-year-old Galloway Township resident guilty of kidnapping the child but not guilty of attempted murder of the baby’s maternal grandmother.
Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said finding
Abdur-Raheem guilty of murder was justice for 3-month-old Zara Malani-Lin Abdur-Raheem. The child’s mother, Venetta Benjamin, who testified against Abdur-Raheem, said only “God is good,” following the verdict and thanked those who worked on the case.
Abdur-Raheem faces 40 years to life in prison after his
conviction in superior court in New Brunswick.
The baby’s mother had sole custody and had left the child in her mother’s care while she sought a restraining order against Abdur-Raheem.
Abdur-Raheem, wearing a suit and glasses, had his head down and showed no visible reaction as the verdict was read in state superior court in New Brunswick. The child’s mother, Venetta Benjamin, who testified during the trial and was present for the verdict, let out a quick gasp of air, tears springing from her eyes and rolling down her cheeks as the verdict was announced.
During the trial Abdur-Taheem admitted tossing his baby into the Raritan River but thought she was already dead. The baby hit her head on the hardwood floor before he left the grandmother’s home according to the Star Ledger.
When asked to recreate it Abdur-Taheem broke into tears.
Prosecutors claim Abdur-Raheem abducted the infant from her grandmother’s East Orange apartment, assaulting the woman and hitting her with his van. They say he then parked on the Driscoll Bridge on the Garden State Parkway and threw or dropped the baby into the Raritan River.
The baby’s body was found several weeks later.
The case prompted changes to the state’s Amber Alert procedures. No alert was issued between the time Zara went missing and Abdur-Raheem was arrested because state law then discouraged use of the alerts in suspected domestic cases. Now, state police issue the alerts even in cases of suspected parental involvement in a child’s abduction.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)