Prosecutors: Dad confessed to baby's bridge death
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey man accused of throwing his 3-month-old daughter off a bridge repeatedly confessed to investigators, prosecutors said in opening statements Wednesday of the father's murder trial.
Shamsid-Din Abdur-Raheem's own words will help show he's guilty of murder, the prosecution said. But defense lawyers told reporters they will prove reasonable doubt, The Star-Ledger reported.
The trial is expected to take about three weeks.
Abdur-Raheem is charged in the death of Zara Malani-lin Abdur-Raheem.
Prosecutors claim Abdur-Raheem abducted the baby from her grandmother's East Orange apartment in February 2010, 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 along the riverbank by passersby.
The child's mother, Venetta Benjamin, had sole custody of the infant and had left her in her mother's care while she sought a restraining order against Abdur-Raheem in a Newark court.
Besides the murder count, the 24-year-old former Galloway Township resident faces charges of attempted murder, kidnapping, aggravated assault and child endangerment.
Abdur-Raheem's father, Mushin Raheem, has said the relationship between his son and Benjamin, who are not married, had been bumpy since they started dating as freshmen at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
The trial is expected to take about three weeks. The state Attorney General's Office is prosecuting the case because it involves incidents in Essex and Middlesex counties.