Law & Justice

Essex County Jury Convicts Man on All Counts in 2013 Killing of Union Man

Zakariyya Ahmad Credits: Essex County Office of the Prosecutor

NEWARK, NJ – Following a 5-day trial before the Honorable James W. Donahue, Judge of the Superior Court, a Newark man, Zakariyya Ahmad, 20, has been convicted of killing Joseph Flagg, 41, of Union, announced Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray.

Flagg was the owner of Zakiyyah’s Café, located at 282 Chancellor Avenue in Newark.  He was fatally shot when Ahmad, and two other teens attempted to rob the café on Oct. 27, 2013.

The jury found Ahmad guilty 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.

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According to Assistant Prosecutor Portia Downing, who tried the case with Assistant Prosecutor Alaina Caliendo, three juveniles went to the café to rob it but ended up leaving without any money. During a tussel between Flagg and the assailants, he was shot at approximately 11 a.m. but his body was not discovered until 12:45 p.m.

A juvenile defendant, whose name has not been released, pled guilty to felony murder in connection with this fatal shooting. A third defendant, Daryl Cline, 20, is awaiting trial. He remains in custody.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 16. Ahmad faces 30 years to life.

“This case is tragic on so many levels. The victim moved from Brooklyn to New Jersey and opened Zakiyyah’s  Café in Newark.  That business was a big part of the community. In addition, Mr. Flagg wanted to help the community and started a labor support company matching former inmates with construction jobs. He understood the importance of giving people a second chance,’’ said Assistant Prosecutor Downing.

“Sadly, his life was taken away by the conduct of this defendant and the two other defendants who participated in this senseless and horrific crime,’’ said Assistant Prosecutor Downing.

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