A Muslim man accused of killing four people in two states in a fit of rage over the U.S. government’s role in the Middle East pleaded not guilty Tuesday to murder and terrorism charges in one of the deaths — the shooting of a New Jersey college student at a traffic light.
Ali Muhammad Brown, 30, of Seattle, is charged with felony murder, carjacking, robbery, and multiple weapons offenses. He also faces a terror charge, the first time such a count has been brought in the state in connection with a murder case, prosecutors said.
Brendan Tevlin, 19, was shot multiple times on June 25, 2014, as he waited at a traffic light in West Orange on his way home to Livingston. Tevlin had just completed his freshman year at the University of Richmond.
At the time, Brown had been a fugitive for three weeks after authorities in Seattle identified him as a suspect in two slayings there.
Brown was arrested in woods not far from the site of Tevlin’s killing.
Brown faces three aggravated murder charges in Seattle: the April 27 shooting of 30-year-old Leroy Henderson in Skyway, south of Seattle, and the June 1 shooting deaths of two young men in Seattle, Ahmed Said and Dwone Anderson-Young.
Authorities said in court documents filed in Seattle last year that Brown described himself to detectives after his New Jersey arrest as a strict Muslim who was angry with the U.S. government’s role in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan because of the death of innocent civilians and children.
In court papers filed last year in Washington, King County sheriff’s Detective John Pavlovich said Brown described to investigators his idea of a “just kill,” in which the target was an adult male unaccompanied by women, children or elderly people.