Duo charged with murder of man found dead at Eagle Rock Reservation
(ESSEX COUNTY PROSECUTORS OFFICE)
Two people have been arrested and charged with the murder of a 31-year-old Bronx man found dead of a gunshot wound in the Eagle Rock Reservation in March.
Michael Verdel, 71, of the Bronx and Posley Sulaiman, 31, of Detroit are accused in the death of Kelsey Steels, 31, of the Bronx. His body had been discovered by hikers March 4 near the border of West Orange and Montclair.
The Essex County Prosecutor's Office said Wednesday authorities allege Sulaiman and Verdel met Steels at his apartment in the Bronx, then brought him to the reservation, where he was shot.
An announcement from the prosecutor's office didn't describe any further circumstances of the meeting or any altercation, or say which of the men is believed to have shot Steels. It also didn't say how the two were identified as suspects.
Verdel was taken into custody in New York and extradited to New Jersey, with a detention hearing scheduled for Monday, the prosecutor's office said. Verdel has been charged with the first-degree offenses of murder, felony murder, conspiracy and robbery, as well as the second-degree offenses of unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.
The prosecutor's office said people who know Verdel refer to him as "the rabbi."
Sulaiman remains in custody in New York at Rikers Island on a New York gun charge for which he was scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday, the prosecutor's office said.
For the Eagle Rock incident, he is charged with the first-degree offenses of murder, felony murder, conspiracy and robbery, and the second-degree offenses of unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.
Authorities are asking anyone with information to contact the Essex County Prosecutor's Office tips line at 1-877-TIPS-4EC or 1-877-847-7432. Calls will be kept confidential, the prosecutor's office said.