Suspect in New Jersey pastor’s murder will remain in Virginia custody pending hearing

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A church associate accused of shooting a New Jersey pastor will remain in custody in Virginia until a June 29 extradition hearing after a hearing was postponed Friday, records show. judicial.

Rashid Ali Bynum, 29, of Portsmouth, Va., previously lived in Sayreville, where victim Eunice Dwumfour lived with her 11-year-old daughter and served on the city council.

Dwumfour, 30, was married just months before she was shot outside her rented townhouse on February 1 as she returned from grocery shopping. She married a fellow pastor of her Nigerian church, Champions Royal Assembly, at its headquarters in Abuja in November, but her husband had yet to join her in the United States.

Bynum was listed in Dwumfour’s phone as “FCF,” or Fire Congress Fellowship, a related religious entity. She was deeply involved with the prosperity gospel group, helping lead services several times a week in Newark and serving as the church’s treasurer.

However, the extent of Bynum’s involvement with the church remained unclear as of Friday. He has a long record of arrests in Virginia for possession of firearms, credit card fraud and a series of traffic violations.

A court-appointed attorney appointed to represent him in the extradition case did not immediately return a call seeking comment on Friday.

While the arrest raised more questions than answers for Dwumfour’s family in Newark – their attorney said they did not know the suspect – some in Sayreville expressed relief.

“There was an air of unease, having no idea of ​​the circumstances of the crime and the perpetrator,” said Karen Bailey Bebert, a local Republican leader who helped Dwumfour and fellow church member Christian Onuoha get together. present to the board in 2021. Both won, and Onuoha is now chairman of the board.

“We are overwhelmed with emotion and elated,” she said. “It took a long time, but they (the investigators) had to do their job.”

Announcing the arrest on Wednesday, Middlesex County District Attorney Yolanda Ciccone released few details of the case, but said police used cellphone and vehicle transponder data to recreate the travels of Bynum on February 1 and link him to the crime.

He also matched the description of the shooter given by neighbors in Sayreville, she said.

Dwumfour’s husband, Peter Ezechukwu, posted a photo of the couple wearing matching pink blazers on social media on Friday.

___ Follow Legal Affairs Editor Maryclaire Dale on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Maryclairedale

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