Man arrested, charged with Pottsville homicide

Feb. 21—POTTSVILLE — A man was charged Tuesday by Pottsville police with killing the mother of their 2-month-old son earlier this month.

Jared Rahim Abdul-Ali, 22, was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge James K. Reiley on felony charges of third-degree murder, aggravated assault and strangulation. He also faces a misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of children.

During his arraignment, which began around 3:45 p.m., Abdul-Ali told the court he is homeless, unemployed and on probation for prior crimes of simple assault and harassment.

Reiley ordered Abdul-Ali committed to Schuylkill County Prison without bail and stressed that the defendant needs to apply for a public defender.

"You desperately need to be represented by counsel," Reiley said.

Pottsville police Detective Joseph Krammes charged Abdul-Ali with killing Destiny B. Duckett, 22, inside her apartment at 222 Market Square sometime during the evening of Feb. 12 or the morning of Feb. 13.

Krammes said officers were called to the apartment at 11:03 a.m. Feb. 13 after a cousin of the woman called 911 when no one answered the door and a child was heard inside screaming.

Duckett was pronounced dead at 11:57 a.m. by Schuylkill County Deputy Coroner Kenneth O'Reilly.

An autopsy was conducted in Dauphin County by forensic pathologist Dr. Wayne Ross, who determined that Duckett died of strangulation. Ross said the victim had bruising consistent with someone kneeling or sitting on her while she was being strangled.

The manner of death was ruled homicide.

During the investigation, family members and neighbors reported suspecting Abdul-Ali was the person responsible, Krammes said.

Duckett had an active protection from abuse order against Abdul-Ali stemming from an incident before the birth of their child.

Krammes said that Abdul-Ali was located the same day.

While being taken to city hall, he spontaneously said that he "had a gut feeling something bad happened" to someone he cares about, according to the detective.

After being read his rights, Abdul-Ali said the two had an argument when he arrived at the apartment on Feb. 12, but maintained it did not turn physical, Krammes said.

Abdul-Ali also said he saw injuries to Duckett's neck and claimed she told him they were from her falling and her son, whom she was holding, grabbing her neck, Krammes said.

On Feb. 16, another interview was conducted with Abdul-Ali, at which time, after being confronted with the autopsy results, he admitted getting into an argument with Duckett over her alleged infidelity after the two had sex, according to the detective.

Krammes reported that Abdul-Ali said he got on top of the woman, sat and then kneeled on her chest and placed his hand around her neck to get her to stop screaming.

Abdul-Ali said he kept his hands around Duckett's throat for about 15 minutes and denied using anything other than his hands, Krammes said.

The man said he was "trying to put her to sleep" to get her to stop yelling and that he hoped she was not dead when he left the apartment, the detective said.

Abdul-Ali said he placed the couple's infant son on a bed next to Duckett's body, which was on the floor, and left the area on his bicycle, Krammes said.

The defendant said he had hidden the bike nearby so no one would know he was violating the PFA order, according to the detective.

Krammes said the charges are the result of video surveillance, scene evidence, the autopsy results and witness statements, as well as the man's confession.

Reiley scheduled a preliminary hearing for Abdul-Ali for 10 a.m. Monday in his Pottsville courtroom, but told the defendant that it would be postponed.