“This was the last defendant we were looking for,” Chief Passaic County Prosecutor Michael DeMarco told the judge at the hearing for Baseem Williams, 22, who was charged with six counts of first-degree offenses, including the murder of Nazerah “Bugg” Coleman. Williams remains jailed on $2 million bail after he entered a not guilty plea last Friday.
Friends and six members of Nazerah’s family attended the brief hearing. Nazerah, 14, a freshman basketball star at International High School, was leaving Mom’s Fried Chicken and became an innocent bystander caught in gunfire that erupted on the street. Authorities say Williams was the focus of an intense manhunt since he and six other defendants were charged in the Sept. 20 slaying of the Paterson teen near the corner of Clifton and North Main streets.
DeMarco credited leads supplied by citizens and the efforts of the Paterson police for Williams’ arrest. Police found Williams hiding in a home on 23rd Avenue last Tuesday.
Authorities said the shooting that killed Nazerah was in retaliation for an earlier shooting in another part of Paterson. Seven are charged in connection with the shooting. Williams joins Nyje Johnson, 19, Shakeem Ricks, 20, and Tyheem Mayfield, 22, on charges of murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder. The other three in custody are juveniles and their names have not been released. Ricks and Williams face three additional charges of employing juveniles for criminal activity.
“They will all be presented together,” DeMarco said. “We actually have to wait until the juveniles have gone through the family division in order to then put the entire matter to the grand jury at the same time.”