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Deliberations Underway For Man Accused Of Throwing Infant Daughter Over Bridge

(The current Scudder Falls Bridge.  File photo)

(The current Scudder Falls Bridge. File photo)

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NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — A jury Thursday resumed deliberations for a third day in the murder trial of a man accused of kidnapping his infant daughter and throwing her off a New Jersey bridge.

Shamsidden Abdur-Raheem, 24, of Galloway Township, admitted during the trial that he threw the 3-month-old off a Garden State Parkway bridge and into the Raritan River on Feb. 16, 2010. But he claimed he believed the child was already dead from injuries she suffered during a fight with the baby’s grandmother.

Before resuming deliberations Thursday in state Superior Court, jurors asked for an explanation of charges, including the difference between murder and manslaughter. They also reviewed a surveillance video that showed Abdur-Raheem entering the East Orange apartment building where prosecutors said he grabbed the infant away from her grandmother during a fight and took off.

The girl’s mother had sole custody and had left the baby in her mother’s care while she sought a restraining order against Abdur-Raheem.

The baby’s body was found on the shore of the Raritan two months later.

Abdur-Raheem is charged with murder in the death of the infant, Zara Malani-Lin Abdur-Raheem, and attempted murder of the child’s grandmother, Leon Benjamin. He is also charged with kidnapping, endangering the welfare of a child and aggravated assault.

Abdur-Raheem testified that during the struggle with the child’s grandmother, the baby fell and hit her head.

But a state forensic anthropologist testified that the skull fractures found on the baby were made at or about the time of death and that they were caused by a significant fall and not one of four feet or less.

During his testimony, Abdur-Raheem said he placed the infant in a knapsack, and pushed her out the passenger side window and off the Driscoll Bridge, into the river more than 100 feet below.

“I tossed my daughter off the bridge,” he said. “I don’t know why.”

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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