On Friday, June 7, 2013, I wrote a blog article entitled, “Police Search for East Orange Teen Who Killed Prom Queen,” which detailed law enforcement’s efforts to find Al-Muqqadin Means, an 18-year old East Orange teen charged in the shooting death of 17-year old Aquilla Fields, also of East Orange. Fields’ body was discovered around 7am on June 5, 2013 by her mother.
In a seemingly ironic turn of events, on the day that she was supposed to be crowned Prom Queen of Campus High School, Aquilla Fields’ alleged killer, her ex-boyfriend, Al-Muqqadin Means (pictured right), made his first appearance today before the Honorable Peter J. Vazquez, Presiding Criminal Judge of the Essex County Superior Court, for purposes of entering a plea of “not guilty” to all charges. According to reports, he was arrested by a federal task force in Newark earlier this week. He is now being held at the Essex County jail in lieu of $750,000 cash bail. In the event that he is able to make bail, he is to have no contact with the victim’s family.
Means apparently mouthed the words “I’m sorry” when he entered the courtroom – it is unclear whether those words were intended for his family or the victim’s family, who lined the courtroom wearing shirts imprinted with her photograph and the words “Rest Easy.” The victim’s family later stated that, in either regard, they felt a small sense of closure.
Additional information regarding the incident has also been revealed. It appears that the victim had broken up with Means a few months ago, but tensions rose and he began threatening her when she recently declined his invitation to the prom. It further appears that on the evening in question, she let Means into her apartment, although it is unclear why. Her dead body was discovered the next morning with a single gunshot wound to the head. Both families, who have purportedly known each other for decades, said it was a disaster for all involved.
For more information, see the Star-Ledger article entitled, “Ex-boyfriend of East Orange prom queen pleads not guilty.”
Means now stands charged with Murder and Weapons offenses. If convicted, he faces 30 years to life in New Jersey State Prison.