NEWARK, NJ – Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino announced yesterday that Zakariyya Ahmad, 20, of Newark was sentenced to 30 years in New Jersey State Prison by the Honorable James W. Donohue, Judge of the Superior Court, for killing Joseph Flagg, 41, of Union.
Following a five-day trial, an Essex County jury convicted Ahmad of reckless manslaughter, felony murder, conspiracy to commit robbery, first degree armed robbery, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose for the fatal Oct. 27, 2013 robbery.
The owner of Zakiyyah's Cafe on Chancellor Avenue in Newark, Flagg was fatally shot on a Sunday when Ahmad, who was 17 years old at the time, and two other teens went there to commit a robbery.
The teens left the cafe without any money at about 11 a.m. Flagg’s body was discovered about an hour and 45 minutes later.
Assistant Prosecutor Portia Downing, who tried the case with Assistant Prosecutor Alaina Caliendo, said, “Mr. Flagg was a hardworking husband and father who opened the store that Sunday because he knew people would be in the neighborhood attending a football game. He wanted to make a difference in the community. Sadly, his life was cut short because of decisions made by Ahmad and two other teens that day. Hopefully, this outcome today will give the family a measure of comfort and finality.’’