Essex County officials announced that an Essex County jury has convicted Rashad Zeigler, 35, Newark, of robbing and murdering Rahman Branch, 39, Irvington, following a trial.
According Newark officials, after three days of deliberation, on October 21, the jury found Zeigler guilty on three of the six counts in the indictment:
Conspiracy to commit robbery, armed robbery, and felony murder.
“The verdict, in this case, illustrates that residents of Essex County want a safe community, and they are willing to convict those whose conduct threatens the safety and serenity of the community,” said Assistant Prosecutor Brian Olsen, who tried the case.
“I hope this verdict brings closure to Mr. Branch’s family and friends.”
Officials say, the robbery and homicide occurred on April 27, 2019, on South 9th Street.
The victim was sitting in the passenger seat of a friend’s car when the defendant and an unidentified male ran up to the car and robbed the victim, said Olsen.
According to Essex County officials, during the robbery, the unknown male shot the victim three times while the defendant stood next to the passenger seat, preventing the victim from running away.
The defendant and an unidentified male then fled the scene.
Essex County officials say, sentencing is scheduled for December 9, Zeigler faces 30 years to life in New Jersey State Prison.
He has two prior convictions; one for manslaughter and another for possession with intent to distribute narcotics.