Rahway man convicted in robbery, fatal shooting of taxi driver

A Union County jury has returned guilty verdicts on all five counts against the Rahway man who murdered a local taxi driver during the course of a botched armed robbery in 2015, causing a motor vehicle collision that cost a young woman her leg, acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan announced Monday.

Nathaniel Young Jr., 23, was convicted on charges including first-degree murder, first-degree felony murder, first-degree robbery, a second-degree weapons offense, and second-degree aggravated assault following a seven-week trial before state Superior Court Judge Lisa Miralles Walsh and several hours of jury deliberation spread over two days.

Shortly before 11 p.m. on Tuesday, August 25, 2015, Rahway Police Department patrol units were called to the 1400 block of Bedford Street in Rahway, according to Union County First Assistant Prosecutor Albert Cernadas Jr., who prosecuted the case. At that location, arriving officers found the body of Imad Alasmar, 57, of Edison, still in his taxi, a Ford Crown Victoria, Cernadas said.

Immediately following the shooting, Alasmar’s vehicle traveled a short distance down the street and collided with a parked Ford Fusion, resulting in serious injuries to an adult male and female occupant. The female’s injuries, which included numerous bone fractures, were so serious they necessitated in the eventual amputation of her lower leg.  

A joint investigation involving the Union County Homicide Task Force, Rahway Police Department, Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit, and Union County Police Department Ballistics Unit revealed that Young had shot Alasmar twice during the course of the robbery, including one round to the head that killed him.

Investigators recovered the .45-caliber handgun used in the crime from the taxi’s deployed and deflated airbag, then found Young’s DNA and fingerprint on the weapon’s body and trigger, respectively. Cell phone records showed that Young traveled from Newark to Rahway that night, calling Alasmar’s taxi company 10 minutes before the shooting, then left the area immediately thereafter.

Young’s bail was revoked following Monday’s verdict, and he was taken into custody pending sentencing, which has been scheduled for Friday, December 7 before Judge Walsh. At that time, Young will face a term of up to life in prison.