The uncle of two people accused in the fatal abduction of a young Atlantic City mother last year has pleaded guilty to concealing evidence in the case.
Nadirah Ruffin, 19, was abducted from a home in Atlantic City’s Back Maryland section March 26, 2011. Her body was found in Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River less than a month later.
Henry Ruffin — who is not related to the victim — admitted Tuesday in federal court in Camden that he knew about the kidnapping and killing before he was questioned by FBI agents Oct. 18, the day he and five others were arrested in connection with the case.
His niece and nephew, Shamerria Smith and Aziz Sanders, along with Deshawn Hicks, are accused of forcing their way into the home wearing masks and brandishing guns, then duct-taping the four women inside.
Nadirah Ruffin allegedly drew attention when she called Smith by name.
“Shamerria, why are you doing this to me?” she asked, according to what two of the victims told police. “You know me.”
Smith then allegedly said: “Now we got to take the (expletive)“ and “now we have to kill the (expletive).”
Henry Ruffin, 41, of Gloucester County, admitted that he spoke with an individual on the night of the abduction from two different cellphones, and met with that person at a convenience store in Turnersville later that night. The next day, he saw the person at a residence in Blackwood.
While he did not name the person he spoke with, the original complaint identifies that person as Smith.
Smith’s father, Ronnie Ruffin, and cousin Isiah Ruffin also are charged with hindering the investigation.
Henry Ruffin could face three years in prison and a fine of $250,000 when he is sentenced Nov. 13. The plea does not require that he testify in the case.
Because the kidnapping is a federal charge, Smith, Sanders and Hicks could face the death penalty. Although New Jersey abolished capital punishment, it still exists at the federal level. A decision on that has not been made.
Contact Lynda Cohen: 609-272-7257; LCohen@pressofac.com
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