NEWARK, N.J. — A Muslim man has pleaded guilty to randomly murdering a New Jersey teen in 2014 during a traffic stop, and has admitted to killing three other men while living in Washington State, as part of a jihad mission against the United States.
Jury selection was underway in Essex County Superior Court on Tuesday when Ali Muhammad Brown, 34, entered the plea to all seven charges of murder, felony murder, carjacking, robbery, two weapons counts and terrorism.
“I killed him,” he said. “I shot him to death.”
Brown explained that he “thought [he] was fighting jihad,” and seemed to express remorse for his actions, which he called “stupid.”
As previously reported, Brown has been incarcerated for the past three and a half years on charges that he murdered 19-year-old Brendan Tevlin in July 2014 by gunning him down at a red light. Tevlin, who had been studying at the University of Richmond, was returning home from playing video games at a friend’s house.
According to NJ Advance Media, after firing multiple shots into the vehicle, Brown moved Tevlin’s body into the back seat of the car, which he then drove to a nearby apartment building and abandoned it. The two did not know each other.
Brown, who had reportedly admitted to the crime in being questioned by a detective in 2014, still took prosecutors by surprise in deciding to plead guilty as no deal had been offered.
“We did not negotiate with this defendant. From the beginning, our position has been that he had to plead to all the charges or we would go to trial and let the jury decide,” acting prosecutor Robert Laurino said in a statement.
“My mission is vengeance for the lives, millions of lives [that] are lost every day,” Brown reportedly admitted a month following his arrest. “Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan—all these places where innocent lives are being taken every single day … All these lives are taken every single day by America, by this government. So a life for a life.”
According to NJ.com, Judge Robert Wigler informed Brown that the terrorism charge carried a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole since a murder was involved, and asked him if he understood. Brown quietly answered, “Yes.”
He also admitted to killing three other men in Washington State, remarking, “I shot those people in Seattle, Washington, too, if you want to put that on the record.” Brown added that he did it for “the same dumb reason.”
Authorities in Washington have already charged Brown for the murder of 30-year-old Leroy Henderson, who died in April 2014 after being shot ten times in the back while walking home. On June 1, 2014 Brown also killed Ahmed Said and Dwone Anderson-Young after meeting them at a nightclub in his Seattle neighborhood. He reportedly stated in court on Tuesday that he killed the latter two as he thought they were homosexual.
Brown is already serving a 35-year sentence for armed robbery. He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 1.