The father of one of the people accused of abducting and killing a teenage mother from Atlantic City admitted this afternoon that he withheld that he knew the identities of those involved in the crime when interviewed by investigators.
Ronnie Ruffin, 43, of Lindenwold, Camden County, was arrested last October with five others accused in the abduction of Nadirah Ruffin -- who is not related to any the defendants.
Nadirah, 19, was forced from a Back Maryland home at gunpoint March 26, 2011, by at least three armed people wearing masks, who first duct taped the four women in the apartment and stole drugs and money. Her body was found in Philadelphia's Schuylkill River on April 29.
Authorities have identified the armed suspects as cousins Shamerria Smith and Aziz Sanders, and their friend Deshawn Hicks, all in their 20s. Smith is the daughter of Ronnie Ruffin, who grew up in Pleasantville.
Because it is a federal case, all three could face the death penalty, even though New Jersey has abolished capital punishment. A decision whether to seek the death penalty has not yet been made.
Ronnie Ruffin admitted that, before he was interviewed the day of his arrest, Oct. 18, 2011, he knew his daughter and his nephew, Isiah Ruffin, were involved in the attack.
Ronnie Ruffin's brother Henry pleaded guilty to similar knowledge in August.
Isiah Ruffin is accused of lying to investigators. He was released on bond in December.
Isiah is why the home where the abduction occurred was targeted, according to the complaint. The boyfriend of the renter allegedly beat up Isiah because he had made sexual advances toward the girlfriend, Nadirah's cousin.
Smith then hatched the plan as revenge for her cousin Isiah, the complaint says.
Nadirah Ruffin allegedly drew attention during the attack 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)."
Both Ronnie and Henry Ruffin face as long as three years in prison, the maximum on that charge.