Update at 2:37 p.m.: Acting Essex County, N.J., Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray said Ali Muhammad Brown is the alleged triggerman in the slaying of New Jersey college student Brendan Tevlin, 19.
Murray said Tevlin was in his grandfather’s SUV heading home the night of June 25, when a car carrying three men pulled up alongside him at a traffic light, according to The Star-Ledger newspaper. Suspect Eric Williams, 18, stayed behind the wheel while Jeremy Villagran, 19, and Brown hopped out and surrounded Tevlin’s SUV.
“He was, at this time, a simple victim of an intent to rob,” Murray said.
One of the men had a brief conversation with Tevlin before Brown, who was standing on the vehicle’s passenger side, allegedly fired 10 bullets, eight of which struck Tevlin, The Star-Ledger reports.
Williams and Villagran then fled the scene, while Brown got inside Tevlin’s vehicle, moved his body into the passenger seat, and drove to an apartment complex where Villagran lives, Murray said. Police fired found his body a short time later.
Brown was taken into custody on July 18 after he was found living in a makeshift tent in West Orange. Murray said police recovered a gun at the camp site which had previously been linked to both Tevlin’s death and the Seattle homicide, The Star-Ledger reports.
Original post: Ali Muhammad Brown, the convicted sex offender charged with killing two men in Leschi on June 1, is now accused of the high-profile June slaying of a man in New Jersey.
Essex County, N.J. prosecutors identified Brown as a suspect in the slaying during a news conference this afternoon in Newark. Several law enforcement sources in Seattle also identified Brown as the person accused of killing 19-year-old Brendan Tevlin of New Jersey.
In addition to Brown, also suspected in the slaying are 19-year old Jeremy Villagran and 18-year old Eric Williams, both of West Orange, N.J., according to WABC-TV of New York City.
According to The Newark Star-Ledger newspaper, Tevlin had just returned home from his first year of college at the University of Richmond in Virginia when he was found shot to death inside his SUV in the parking lot of an apartment building in West Orange on June 25.
A motive in Tevlin’s slaying has not been released, but authorities in Seattle say they are looking into whether Brown’s extremist religious beliefs led him to kill Dwone Anderson-Young, 23, and Ahmed Said, 27, in Leschi. Seattle police have said they are investigating whether the two Seattle men were killed because they were gay.
Brown, 29, is charged in King County Superior Court with two counts of aggravated murder that could potentially result in the death penalty.
Brown, a Muslim who law enforcement sources say claims to be a jihadi, served federal prison time for conspiracy to commit bank fraud in connection with a plot to defraud several banks.
In that case, between January 2002 and November 2004, Brown and three other men defrauded U.S. Bank, Bank of America, Key Bank, Washington Mutual, Wells Fargo and Boeing Employees Credit Union by depositing counterfeit and fake checks then withdrawing funds before the checks were returned, according to charging documents filed in U.S. District Court.
Authorities determined that many of the men involved were supporting terrorism in Somalia.
In March 2012, Brown pleaded guilty to communication with a minor for immoral purposes and was sentenced to a year in jail.
The King County Prosecutor’s Office said Monday the decision on whether to pursue the death penalty will not be made until Brown returns to Seattle. It’s unclear whether Brown will be prosecuted in New Jersey first, or returned to Seattle for prosecution here first.
Brown has also been linked a robbery and carjacking in the coastal town of Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., on July 13.
Brown was arrested in West Orange, N.J., on July 18.