TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that a 29-year-old man was indicted today by a state grand jury on charges that he shot two men to death in Jersey City, cut off their heads and hands, and buried their remains in a wooded area in Atlantic County, N.J.
The Division of Criminal Justice obtained a 16-count indictment charging Yusuf Ibrahim, 29, of Jersey City, with two counts each of murder, (1st degree), felony murder (1st degree), kidnapping (1st degree), robbery (1st degree), and desecrating human remains (2nd degree), as well as numerous other crimes related to the murders and mutilation of the bodies. The indictment stems from an investigation by the New Jersey State Police, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office and the Division of Criminal Justice.
Ibrahim allegedly murdered Hany Tawadros, 25, and Amgad Konds, 27, in the early morning hours of Feb. 5, 2013. Tawadros and Konds were Egyptian nationals who were living in Jersey City. Ibrahim allegedly shot each man once in the chest with a .38-caliber handgun inside Konds’ white Mercedes C280, after abducting them in the car. Ibrahim allegedly drove the bodies of the deceased victims to Buena Vista in the Mercedes. There he allegedly disposed of their remains in a wooded area behind the unoccupied home of a relative, after stealing the victims’ money and jewelry.
Before burying the victims, he allegedly cut off their heads and hands using a small drywall saw and scissors, and knocked out their teeth with a tire iron. He allegedly desecrated the bodies to hinder identification. After staying overnight at the relative’s house on Harding Highway in Buena Vista, Ibrahim allegedly drove the Mercedes to Philadelphia, where he abandoned it at a secluded location after setting it on fire in an effort to destroy evidence of the murders.
“These were vicious, cold-blooded murders in which Ibrahim allegedly executed his victims, decapitated them and bashed out their teeth with a tire iron in an attempt to avoid detection,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman. “This indictment is another step in securing justice for the victims, whose young lives were ended in such a brutal fashion.”
“The charges against Yusuf Ibrahim depict an extraordinarily dangerous man, and our job as prosecutors is to ensure that he remains safely behind bars,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We intend to prosecute him to the full extent of the law, using the evidence gathered in a skillful and intensive investigation spearheaded by the State Police.”
“The murders, and the gruesome attempt to cover up the crimes, are the acts of a ruthless and calculated individual,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “This indictment is the result of a cooperative effort involving multiple law enforcement agencies, and I would like to commend all of the troopers and investigators for their hard work and dedication.”
On Feb. 7, 2013, detectives from the State Police Troop A Criminal Investigation Office responded to the house on Harding Highway in Buena Vista after receiving a report regarding Ibrahim’s alleged suspicious activities there. They obtained permission to search the wooded area behind the house, where a cadaver dog located an area of disturbed dirt near the end of a trail extending from the back yard of the house into the woods.
Armed with a search warrant, State Police detectives from the Criminal Investigation Office, Major Crime Bureau and Crime Scene Investigation Unit excavated the spot on Feb. 8 and found the two bodies. The cadaver dog was used again to find the victims’ heads and hands, which were buried about 40 yards from the original grave site. Close to the second site, the dog detected the odor of human remains, and detectives recovered a small drywall saw, a pair of scissors and a tire iron.
Further investigation by the New Jersey State Police and the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office led detectives to learn that the Philadelphia Police had recovered Konds’ abandoned Mercedes, which contained evidence of the murders. Ibrahim was located and arrested on Feb. 10, 2013, at a residence in Bayonne, N.J., by the New Jersey State Police and the U.S. Marshals Service. Ibrahim is being held in the Hudson County Jail with bail set at over $3.5 million.
Last month, Ibrahim was indicted in connection with a separate armed robbery that occurred on the night of Sept. 19, 2012 in Jersey City. Ibrahim allegedly shot a man in the foot with a handgun and pistol-whipped him while robbing the victim of his money and cell phone. That state grand jury indictment, which was obtained by the Division of Criminal Justice on March 25, charges Ibrahim with armed robbery (1st degree), aggravated assault (2nd degree), unlawful possession of a weapon (2nd degree) and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose (2nd degree). Ibrahim was arraigned this morning in connection with that prior indictment before Superior Court Judge Mitzy Galis-Menendez in Jersey City.
Ibrahim also is charged with first-degree carjacking and armed robbery in an indictment obtained by the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office related to a carjacking in Jersey City in December 2011.
Deputy Attorneys General Vincent J. Militello, Philip J. Mogavero and Jamie Picard presented the murder and latest robbery indictments to the state grand jury and coordinated the investigation for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau. Detective Sgt. Glenn Garrels and Detective John Hannigan led the investigation for the State Police Major Crime Unit. Acting Attorney General Hoffman thanked the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, U.S. Marshals Service, Philadelphia Police and Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office for their valuable assistance.
The first-degree murder charges carry a sentence of 30 years without parole to life in state prison. The kidnapping charge carries a sentence of 15 to 30 years in state prison. First-degree charges carry a fine of up to $200,000. Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000, while fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The indictments are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The murder indictment was handed up to Superior Court Judge Mary C. Jacobson in Mercer County, who assigned the case to Hudson County, where Ibrahim will be ordered to appear at a later date for arraignment.