Dan Ivers, NJ
The man accused of gunning down a Livingston teenager in his car earlier this summer told investigators the murder was an act of retribution for U.S. military action against Muslims in the Middle East.
According to court documents filed Wednesday in Washington state, where he is accused of killing three other men, Ali Muhammad Brown said he considered it his mission to murder 19-year-old Brendan Tevlin as an act of “vengeance” for innocent lives lost in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Iran.
“All these lives are taken every single day by America, by this government. So a life for a life,” he told detectives, according to the documents.
Brown, 29, also confessed to killing the other men, all of whom, like Tevlin, were shot multiple times in isolated areas late at night. He described the murder as a “just kill”–carried out against an adult male who was not in the company of any women, children or elderly persons, court papers said.
Prosecutors say Brown is a devout Muslim who had become angered by U.S. military intervention in the Islamic world, which he referred to as “evil.” He also referred to drug use as inherently evil.
“During the interview Brown also stated that, as part of his beliefs, if a ‘man sees evil then he must take action against that evil’,” according to court papers.
Essex County authorities have characterized Tevlin’s June 25 murder as a robbery that turned violent when Brown fired 10 shots into the popular college student’s vehicle, which was stopped at a red light at the corner of Walker Road and Northfield Avenue in West Orange.
The brutal slaying was just one act in what authorities have characterized as a spree of violence that began two months earlier and 3,000 miles away.
On April 27, police found the body of 30-year-old Leroy Henderson on a stretch of road called the Skyway outside Seattle, which was later linked to Brown via shell casings that matched those found in his other alleged murders.
Prosecutors in Washington say there was no sign of a struggle prior to the slaying, that the two had any prior relationship or contact, or that the crime was motivated by “robbery, drugs or any other crime.”
Brown is also charged with gunning down two Seattle men, Ahmed Said and Dwone Anderson-Young, on June 1. Authorities say he had met Said through a hook-up app aimed at gay men, and met them at a nightclub before shooting them.
Brown, a registered sex offender and transient who lived in East Orange briefly as a youth, has a lengthy criminal history dating back more than a decade.
In 2004, he was arrested along with 13 other members of an alleged bank fraud ring in Seattle, which federal investigators believed may have been sending money earned through the scheme to terrorist groups.