“At times, because of the age they’re at, they overestimate their invulnerability.”
-Bernard Revoir (teacher at Jennifer's High School)
It was the 24th of July 2006. A Monday. Eighteen year old Jennifer Moore and her friend Tara Keenan met another friend for dinner early in the evening. Jennifer and Tara then went for a night out in Manhattan. The girls were from Harrington Park, which is a small and quiet suburban town of less than 5,000 people, in northern New Jersey, United States.
Jennifer was a fun and adventurous girl. She loved playing soccer and was co-captain of the team at Saddle River Day School in Saddle River N.J..That fall, she was due to study nursing at the University of Hartford. Her family were very proud of her. Even though she was eighteen years old, she was the "baby" of the family. Her brother was twenty seven and her sister was twenty one.
That night, the Monday night, Jennifer and Tara went for a few drinks and then on to a nightclub. Due to their age, they were not legally allowed to drink but had no problem gaining access to the bar. They ended up at the Guest House, a nightclub in Manhattan's trendy Chelsea neighborhood. After a few drinks, a bit of dancing and a lot of fun, they left just after 2am to make their way home.
Jennifer and Tara had driven to Manhattan in Tara's car and after leaving the nightclub, they discovered the car had been towed. Tara had parked her red Dodge sedan in a “no standing” zone nearby.
They both went to the pound to try to retrieve the car. It was more than ten blocks away at 38th Street and 12th Avenue on the Far West Side. But they were told the car would not be released to them as Tara appeared incapacitated. While they were at the pound, Tara was ill and passed out and staff at the pound called an ambulance. There was another woman at the pound, not known to Jennifer and Tara, who was also seeking to have her car back. She was intoxicated and causing trouble so the police were called.
When the ambulance and police arrived,Jennifer went to the bathroom in the pound and managed to slip out without anyone seeing her. She may have feared being in trouble with the police for drinking. Tara went to the hospital. That left Jennifer alone.
Jennifer walked along a road near the Hudson River. Just after 4am, she called her boyfriend, Kofi Boakye, and told him:
“There’s a guy following me. He’s offered me drugs. He won’t leave me alone.”
Kofi told her to get a taxi home. He tried to call her back but there was no answer.
Tara tried to call Jennifer too but there was no answer. Jennifer’s family did not know where she was and reported her missing to the police. The last known interaction Jennifer had with any of her family or friends was the call she had placed after 4am to Kofi. Due to what Jennifer said on that call, her family were extremely concerned.
Jennifer’s cellphone number was still showing up on caller IDs. One woman who had received a call from Jennifer’s number was able to provide police with information about the man who had made that call.
Police tracked down that man at the Hamilton Heights Casablanca Hotel on West 145th Street. His name was Draymond Coleman. Thirty four year old Draymond had been living at a rent by the week motel at the Park Avenue Hotel in Weehawken, New Jersey. He was no stranger to the police. He was arrested multiple times in New York since the 1990’s and served five years in jail for the 1997 sale of a $10 bag of crack cocaine to an undercover police officer. After his release from prison in 2002, he violated the terms of his parole three times and was returned to prison each time.
Police searched his room and obtained surveillance footage from the motel.
The surveillance footage revealed that Jennifer had been at the motel. It was unclear how they met that night but it seemed at some point, Draymond followed Jennifer and forced her to get a taxi with him to the motel. At dawn on the Tuesday, the 25th of July, the footage showed Draymond walking into the motel with Jennifer slumped over his arm. From the footage, it looked like she was either drugged or drunk. The footage also showed her at one point trying to leave. It was clear that she did not want to go upstairs and Draymond walked slowly with her up the stairs. At one point, Jennifer managed to leave and go outside the motel. But she was brought back inside. Draymond and Jennifer were not the only ones who entered the room that night. There was a third person, twenty year old Krystal Riordan.
Shortly after police arrested Draymond and Krystal, they found Jennifer's body. Jennifer's naked body was found in a suitcase in a dumpster. An Autopsy revealed that Jennifer's death was homicide as a result of blunt-force trauma to the head and strangulation. She had been beaten and strangled to death.
Police discovered that Draymond and Krystal were boyfriend and girlfriend. Krystal was a prostitute and Draymond pimped her out. They had a daughter together. According to Krystal, Draymond was obsessed with threesomes and she wanted him to "get it out of his system." That morning, the morning of the 25th of July, Krystal waited for Draymond for hours in the room. She told police that she was annoyed that he brought Jennifer back and she believed he had been drinking and snorting cocaine.
When they got to the motel, Draymond told Krystal to pay the taxi fare which she did. Krystal claimed that when the three of them went to the room, she went into the bathroom and left Draymond and Jennifer in the bedroom together. She heard Jennifer screaming and opened the bathroom door. Draymond was violently beating Jennifer in the face. The beating was so severe that her face was badly swollen and Jennifer couldn't see. There was a lot of blood. She went back into the bathroom even though she knew the beating would continue and that Jennifer would be raped.
When Krystal left the bathroom for a second time, she saw Draymond strangling her. He told Krystal that Jennifer would not stay quiet and he needed to "quieten her."
When Jennifer stopped moving, Krystal checked her pulse. She was dead. At that point, Krystal did not try to seek assistance. Instead, she went downstairs to the vending machine to get a snack and a soda. After that, she helped Draymond dispose of the body.
Draymond tried to get rid of DNA. As Jennifer had lashed out at him trying to defend herself, he clipped her fingernails to try to remove any traces of his DNA from under her fingernails. He washed her body and put her body inside a suitcase and threw the suitcase in a dumpster.
Draymond admitted to strangling Jennifer to death. He said he and Krystal Riordan both raped Jennifer before he killed her. He was offered a plea deal if he agreed to testify against Krystal. He agreed. Draymond was sentenced to 50 years in prison.
Krystal initially rejected a plea deal but eventually pleaded guilty to kidnapping and hindering apprehension. She was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Hudson County Assistant Prosecutor D'Andrea called Krystal a "predatory, manipulative human being"and said:
"She told police she and Draymond wanted to get married but he wanted to get the threesomes out of his system. She knew what was going to happen. She did nothing but sip a cold drink while Jennifer Moore was raped, beaten and strangled."
Jennifer would probably have never met someone like Draymond had it not been for a chain of events that resulted with her being in the wrong place at the wrong time that night. She was left alone in the dead of the night in an area that she was unfamiliar with. There were many people she met along the way who could and should have helped her that night. Instead, her family have to live a life without their vibrant, smart and kind daughter and sister. Her mother Candida told the Court at the sentencing hearing of the impact that Jennifer's death has had on them:
"Jennifer was taken from us suddenly and senselessly in an extremely violent manner which has left a hole in the hearts of all her family members. Her life was taken after a brutal and vicious assault by a person who showed complete disregard for life. Mr. Coleman is an adult who abused the trust of a young woman and who took her life for no other reason that for his personal gratification. He saw fit to kill Jen willingly and with no remorse, leaving those of us who love her with a void that can never be filled."
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