Wed | Aug 5, 2020

NJ prosecutor to review death of J’can businessman

Published:Sunday | August 2, 2020 | 12:25 AMKaryl Walker - Senior Gleaner Writer

Jamaican businessman Rasheed Edwards, who was found with a gunshot wound to the head inside his New Jersey home.
Jamaican businessman Rasheed Edwards, who was found with a gunshot wound to the head inside his New Jersey home.

Director of the New Monmouth Community Law Enforcement Unit, Christopher Decker, has committed to giving audience to the grieving relatives of deceased Jamaican businessman Rasheed Edwards.

Edwards was found with a gunshot wound to the head inside the garage of his Wall Township home in New Jersey earlier this year. His death has been ruled a suicide, but his relatives suspect foul play.

“As a prosecutor, I cannot discuss the case, but I can tell you that my office is open to meeting with and listening to Edwards’ relatives as to whatever evidence or grouses they may have with the case. I can also tell you that two pathologists have ruled the death a suicide,” Decker told The Sunday Gleaner.

PUZZLING EVIDENCE

Edwards’ relatives are contesting the ruling as both reports have concluded that no gunpowder residue was found on the right side of his head, where the bullet entered. They are also contending that Edwards was right-handed, but the gun was found in his left hand.

“Can you explain how a man used his left hand to shoot himself in the right side of the head? That alone sounds incredible. Then the fact that no gunpowder residue was found on his hands, and also the fact that there were no powder burns – which means the fatal shot was fired from some distance – is very puzzling to us,” Edwards’ elder sibling, Dameon Edwards, told The Sunday Gleaner.

The family is, however, somewhat relieved that a prosecutor has extended an invitation to meet with them.

“This is the first step. We felt railroaded as our cries have been falling on deaf ears so far. So the move by Mr Decker is welcomed. All we want is justice for Rasheed, and if it can be proven without a reasonable doubt that Rasheed did take his own life, we will have to accept it and move on. However, the way things are being presented to us leaves a lot to be desired,” Dameon said.

The family is now in the process of hiring a civil-rights attorney to oversee their interests as they claim the police in Wall County have not been open in releasing the full findings of their investigation.

The 33-year-old Edwards, the last of five siblings, grew up in Whitehall Gardens, St Andrew. His body was flown to Jamaica for interment last month.

karyl.walker@gleanerjm.com