The man accused of suffocating his 14-year-old girlfriend and then trying to burn her body in Gerritsen Beach was convicted of second-degree murder on Dec. 2.
Authorities say Christian Ferdinand, a 22-year-old from Maine, killed Shaniesha Forbes in January of 2013 after they argued over terminating her alleged pregnancy. When Forbes refused to get an abortion, Ferdinand held a pillow over her face until she stopped breathing, according to the district attorney.
After Ferdinand killed the teenager, prosecutors say he put her body in a suitcase and set fire to her remains on the beach at the end of Gerritsen Avenue, where her body was later found. The district attorney said Ferdinand murdered Forbes after she refused to get an abortion — but the medical examiner said that the victim wasn’t even pregnant.
“The defendant brutally took the life of a 14-year-old girl all because he believed that she was pregnant,” said District Attorney Ken Thompson. “We will now seek the maximum at sentencing to ensure that we get justice for the victim.”
Ferdinand is expected to be sentenced on Jan. 7, 2015. He faces 25 years to life in prison.