NEWARK, NJ — An Essex County jury has convicted Rashad Zeigler, 35, of Newark, of robbing and murdering Rahman Branch, 39, of Irvington, following a trial before Judge Patrick J. Arre, according to an Oct. 26 press release from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.
After three days of deliberation, the jury found Zeigler guilty on Oct. 21 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.”
The robbery and homicide occurred April 27, 2019, on South 9th Street in Newark. 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. During the course of 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 unknown male then fled the scene.
Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 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.