Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino announced today Ibn Muhammad, 25, of Newark was found guilty of murder by an Essex County jury for killing Jeffrey Christopher, 23, also of Newark.
The jury also convicted Muhammad of one count of tampering with a witness by force and multiple weapons offenses.
Assistant Prosecutor Naazneen Khan tried the case with Assistant Prosecutor Sahil Kabse.
“I appreciate the jury not allowing the defendant to get away with such a brazen murder. He gunned down Mr. Christopher in broad daylight in a residential area. The people of Newark should not have to tolerate such senseless violence,’’ said Assistant Prosecutor Khan said
“I especially wish to thank the courage witnesses who testified for the state. Unless people are willing to come forward and testify it becomes very difficult for us to win convictions in these cases,’’ Assistant Prosecutor Khan added.
Muhammad is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 28, 2011 by the Honorable Torkwase Y. Sekou. He faces life plus 10 years.
According to Assistant Prosecutor Khan, the murder occurred on Jan. 12, 2008 in the area of 211 Fairmount Avenue in Newark. The victim was selling drugs on the street when he was approached by Muhummad and two other individuals. Muhammad left the area and came back in a motor vehicle, pulled out a gun and started shooting in the direction of Christopher at 3 p.m. Muhammad then got out of the car and chased the victim to an empty lot. As the victim fell to the ground, Muhammad stood over him and delivered the final gunshot to his back, ending his life.
Two area residents saw the shooting and testified on behalf of the state. On Feb. 4, 2008, Muhammad and two other young men pulled up on a woman who resembled the state’s key witness that had viewed the shooting from her front porch. They questioned the woman while the front seat passenger was in possession of a handgun. Muhammad eventually determined she was not the witness who saw the murder. The woman was so frightened by the encounter she immediately went to the actual witness to warn her.
Today the jury deliberated for a little over two hours before returning a guilty verdict.
Acting Prosecutor Laurino commended the two prosecutors who tried the case. He also praised the outstanding work of Detective Bruce Branch, an investigator with the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, the Newark Police Department Homicide Unit, the Leon County District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Marshals.