Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced today that Richard Konadu, 39, formerly of Irvington, has been returned to the United States to face trial for the murder of his wife.
Konadu is scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday, March 3 at approximately 9 a.m. before the Honorable Peter J. Vazquez, J.S.C., at the Essex County Court House, 50 West Market Street, Newark, NJ, courtroom 604, where he will face state weapons and murder charges.
Konadu, a citizen of Ghana, was captured in the city of Accra in the Republic of Ghana. He is charged with the Oct. 10, 2003 murder of his wife, Regina Carroll, who was 27 years old at the time of her death. A mother of two, Carroll was shot in the head multiple times.
Assistant Prosecutor Peter Guarino, who is handling the case for the Essex County Prosecutor’ Office, said Konadu is believed to have called 911 and reported the incident. He then fled their home, located at 51 Franklin Terrance in Irvington, and went to JFK Airport where he obtained a round-trip bereavement fare to Accra, Ghana. He exited the aircraft during a layover in Amsterdam and began a fugitive from justice for nearly eight years, Guarino said.
A warrant for the arrest of Richard Konadu was issued by the Honorable Donald J. Volkert, Presiding Judge of the Criminal Part, Superior Court of New Jersey Essex Vicinage on June 2, 2004.
On Aug. 2, 2004 a federal warrant for Konadu’s arrest was issued in Newark, charging him with Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution – Murder. That warrant allowed the FBI to become actively involved in the investigation.
The FBI in Newark began coordinating the investigation with FBI agents assigned to the United States Embassies in Nigeria and Sierra Leone and with Diplomatic Security Service personnel, which is the U.S. Department of State’s law enforcement and security arm, and officers of the Ghana Police Service.
The investigation revealed that Konadu settled in the United Kingdom but recently returned to Ghana to be with an ailing family member. The international investigative team moved in on Konadu and with the help of the Ghana Police he was apprehended on Nov. 23, 2010. Until yesterday, he was in the custody of the Ghana criminal justice system awaiting extradition.
On Thursday night, Feb. 24, 2011, Konadu was brought back to the U.S. He landed at JFK Airport and was transferred to the Essex County Correctional Facility where he remains.
“As with any international fugitive case, a lot of sweat equity went into this investigation, beginning with the Irvington Police Department, and ending with the Ghana Police Service,’’ said FBI Special Agent In Charge Michael B. Ward.
“The world has become a much smaller place for criminals as a result of law enforcement cooperation and partnerships. I congratulate all the investigators here in New Jersey for their commitment to this case and extend a special thank you to the Diplomatic Security Service, the Ghana Police Service, our embassies in Nigeria and Sierra Leone, and especially our FBI Legal Attaché in Freetown in Africa for coordination of these efforts,’’ said Ward.
Konadu was returned to the United States by the FBI’s Project Welcome Home. The FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division developed Project Welcome Home in an effort to support the apprehension of international fugitives charged with crimes of violence. Project Welcome Home funds the round trip travel of two law enforcement officials and a one-way trip for the fugitive from a foreign country to the United States when repatriation by the host country occurs through deportation or extradition.
Since its inception in 2004, over 400 FBI fugitives have been returned to the United States from more than 42 countries to face prosecution.
According to Jeffrey W. Culver, Director of the Diplomatic Security Service, an intricate ruse was set up to entice Konadu to travel to a specific location where he was arrested.
“Diplomatic Security’s Regional Security Office in Accra worked closely with our law enforcement counterparts to locate Konadu,’’ Culver said. “This is an example of the unparalleled capability of Diplomatic Security to pursue, locate and return fugitives.’’
Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray commended the FBI, Deputy U.S. Attorney Dan Stigall with the Department of Justice, Office of International Affairs, the United States Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Ghana Police Service, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the other international law enforcement partners who helped to bring Konadu back to New Jersey to face justice.
Konadu is currently being held without bail. Assistant Prosecutor Guarino will ask that he be continued at no bail or bail be set at $2 million cash only.
These charges are mere accusations. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.