A man on trial for a New Jersey murder admitted his guilt Tuesday, and additionally claimed responsibility for three out-of-state slayings.
According to NBC News, Ali Muhammad Brown, 34, entered a surprise guilty plea in a Newark court for the June 2014 shooting death of 19-year-old college student Brendan Tevlin, who was attacked while stopped at a West Orange traffic light.
In an unexpected statement, Brown also admitted to the fatal shootings of Dwone Anderson-Young, 23, and Ahmed Said, 27, earlier that same month after they left a gay nightclub in Seattle, Washington. Brown said he killed them because he believed they were homosexual.
Brown additionally claimed responsibility for the April 2014 death of Leroy Henderson, 30, in Skyway, Washington. The admitted killer was already charged with the three Washington state murders, but is currently in New Jersey custody serving 35 years for armed robbery.
New Jersey prosecutors said that Brown told the court the four killings were part of a personal ‘jihad’ to avenge what he believes is unjust U.S. policy in the Middle East.
Brown surprised prosecutors with his confession, as they were not willing to negotiate with the defendant for a reduction in charges. With his guilty plea, Brown now faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison. If tried in Washington, he could receive the death penalty.
TONIGHT: An 'On the Record' Exclusive: The parents of Brendan Tevlin, the victim of an alleged jihadist revenge murder here in America, sit down with Greta. Tune in at 7 ET! #BrendanTevlin
“He’s trying to make himself a martyr,” Assistant Essex County Prosecutor Jamel Semper told the Tevlin family in a private meeting.
“But it doesn’t matter what he says. He’ll never see the light of day.”
In addition to a murder charge for Tevlin’s shooting, Brown also pleaded guilty to first-degree terrorism, first-degree carjacking, first-degree robbery, unlawful possession of a handgun, and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.
Brown will receive his sentence on May 1 in the first NJ murder case brought under the state’s terrorism statute.
[Feature Photo: Ali Muhammad Brown via Patti Sapone/NJ Advance Media]