Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens, II, and Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura announced today two men have been arrested and charged with the murder of Kelsey Steels, 31, of the Bronx who was found dead from a gunshot wound at Eagle Rock Reservation.
Michael Verdel, 71, of the Bronx and Posley Sulaiman, 31, of Detroit have been charged with the murder of Steels, 31, who was fatally shot on March 4, on a hiking trail at Eagle Rock Reservation in West Orange.
Verdel was taken into custody in New York and has been extradited to New Jersey. A detention hearing is scheduled for Monday, May 16. Verdel, who is referred to as “the rabbi’’ by those who knew him has been charged with murder, felony murder, conspiracy and robbery – all first-degree offenses.
He is also charged with unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose – second degree crimes.
The second suspect, Sulaiman, remains in custody in New York at Rikers Island on a New York gun charge. He was scheduled to appear in court in New York today.
In New Jersey, he is charged with murder, felony murder, conspiracy and robbery – all first-degree offenses.
He is also charged with two weapons offenses – unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.
It is alleged that Sulaiman and Verdel met Steels at Verdel’s apartment in the Bronx then brought him to New Jersey where he was shot at Eagle Rock reservation.
These are accusations.
All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they enter a guilty plea or are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Calls will be kept confidential.