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Galloway Township Man Found Guilty of Murdering His Own Daughter

Driscoll Bridge
sky view of the Driscoll Bridge where a 3-month old was thrown off of to her death / dsearls -- flickr

A jury deliberated for 2 hours today, had deliberated for 9 hours over the previous couple of days, and a 3-week trial came to a close finding a Galloway Township man guilty of murdering his newborn daughter by flinging her off a bridge 140 feet above the water.

24-yr-old Shamsiddan Abdur-Raheem was handed his guilty verdict this Friday afternoon in state superior court in New Brunswick, murdering 3-month old Zara Abdur-Raheem by throwing her off of the Driscoll Bridge on the Garden State Parkway above the Raritan Bay on February 16, 2010.  Abdur-Raheen was also found guilty of endangering the welfare of a child.

The young father had claimed that the child was already dead from injuries that were suffered during a fight with Leno Benjamin, who was caring for the child at the time while the mother (Venetta Benjamin) was getting a restraining order against the father .  Abdur-Raheem came to the grandmother’s place to visit his daughter, and this disagreement became physical.  Abdur-Raheem claimed the baby fell and hit her head during this scuffle.

The Associated Press reported that a state forensic anthropologist testified to the fact that the skull fractures on the baby were made about the time of death, and that they were caused by a “significant fall”.

The remains of young Zara were found about two months after the fall by two passers-by, along the shores of the Raritan Bay in Woodbridge.

Abdur-Raheem did admit to tossing his daughter out of the passenger side window of his car – the child was placed in a knapsack and fell over 100 feet.  He does not know why he did this.  Come November 7th, Abdur-Raheem could be facing life in prison.

The former couple has met as freshman while attending Richard Stockton College in Galloway Township.  Abdur-Raheem and Venetta were never married, and family members admitted that their relation was “bumpy” almost from the start.


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