The Mercer County man who shot and killed a Freehold Borough woman as she drove along a state highway in May 2018 has been sentenced to life in prison, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey announced on May 3.
Kader Mustafa, 40, of Hightstown, will not become eligible for parole before reaching the age of 104, under the provisions of New Jersey’s No Early Release Act and the terms set down on May 2 by state Superior Court Judge Vincent N. Falcetano Jr., sitting in Freehold, according to a press release from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.
Shortly before 11:45 p.m. May 3, 2018, members of the Freehold Township Police Department responded to a 911 call originating from a vehicle that was stopped on the Route 33 bypass westbound near an exit ramp for Halls Mill Road.
At that location, officers found three occupants of a 1997 Mazda Protégé: Sciasia Calhoun, 24, who had sustained a single gunshot wound to the head, and her boyfriend and 1-year-old daughter, neither of whom were physically harmed.
Calhoun was rushed by Freehold First Aid, with the assistance of MONOC paramedics, to CentraState Medical Center, Freehold Township, where she was pronounced dead about one hour later, according to the press release.
A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Bureau and the Freehold Township Police Department, with significant assistance from the Manalapan
Police Department, revealed that Mustafa was driving a 2005 Chevrolet Impala when he
fired a single shot at Calhoun after several minutes of following her vehicle, at one
point even colliding with its rear bumper, according to the press release.
Mustafa was apprehended at his cousin’s residence in Manalapan in the area of Oakland Mills Road at about 8:10 a.m. the morning after the shooting. At that time two handguns were recovered from the vehicle.
While recounting the facts of the case on May 2, Falcetano noted that Calhoun and her loved ones were en route to Asbury Park on the night of the shooting when they suddenly realized their vehicle’s headlights were not operational; only the high beams were working. They had already turned around and were heading home when they encountered Mustafa.
“Her last act,” Falcetano said of Calhoun, was to somehow safely pull over the vehicle to the side of the road, despite having been shot by a man the judge described as a “cauldron of rage” who was “marauding … aimlessly” that night, while armed.
“This was completely random,” Falcetano said. “I don’t have enough words in my vocabulary to describe it.”
Several members of Calhoun’s immediate family, spanning three generations,
made remarks in court before the sentence was rendered, according to the press release.
They described a “diamond in the rough” with ample ambition and a fierce independent streak, who stubbornly refused to let anyone help her learn how to ride a bicycle as a young child – despite bumps, bruises and scratches piling up – until she had perfected it on her own.
“The defendant chose to randomly fire a shot and randomly kill a 24-year-old who had done absolutely nothing to him,” said Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Director of Investigations Christopher Decker, who represented the state at sentencing. “There’s nothing more depraved or heinous.”
Mustafa’s May 2 sentencing followed a multi-week trial that concluded in October
2021 when a jury convicted Mustafa on all six charges against him: first degree
murder, second degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, two counts of
second degree unlawful possession of a weapon and two counts of third degree
endangering another person.
Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Investigation Division Director and Assistant
Prosecutor John Loughrey, who has since retired, handled the prosecution, according to the press release.