A former resident of Atlantic City and Galloway Township on trial for throwing his 3-month-old daughter off a highway bridge wrote to the girl’s mother that he was sorry but blamed her partly for what happened.
Jurors in the trial of Shamsid-Din Abdur-Raheem heard the letter read Friday in state Superior Court. Abdur-Raheem is charged with murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, aggravated assault and child endangerment.
“You did cause and have a lot to do with what happened,” Abdur-Raheem wrote in the 10-page letter in 2010 to girlfriend Venetta Benjamin, the Star- Ledger of Newark reported. He also said she should look at “how your lies led up to all of this.” He blamed Benjamin for cheating on him with her ex-boyfriend.
Prosecutors claim Abdur-Raheem abducted Zara Malani-Lin Abdur-Raheem from her grandmother’s apartment in East Orange, Essex County, in February 2010, assaulting the woman and hitting her with his van. They say he then parked on the Driscoll Bridge on the Garden State Parkway and threw or dropped the baby into the Raritan River.
The baby’s body was found several weeks later along the riverbank by passers-by.
Benjamin had sole custody of the infant and had left her in her mother’s care while she sought a restraining order against Abdur-Raheem.
“Zara was special to me,” Abdur-Raheem wrote in the letter read in court Friday. “I loved her dearly. ... I’m not worried about Zara being here. She’s in a better place.” He closed with, “What I ask is that you change your heart and mind and have forgiveness for me. ... I’m sorry.”
Abdur-Raheem grew up in Atlantic City and graduated from Atlantic City High School in 2006, and had studied criminal justice at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
His trial is to resume Tuesday.