⚫ Eunice Dwumfour's family unveiled her headstone on the anniversary of her death

⚫ The court case against the suspect in the case is moving slowly

⚫ She was the first Black woman elected to the Sayreville Borough Council

SAYREVILLE — It was a year ago on Thursday that the late Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour was shot 14 times as she arrived home still behind the wheel of her SUV.

Rashid Ali Bynum, 29, was arrested on May 30 in Portsmouth, Virginia, and extradited to New Jersey. He is charged with first-degree murder, second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, and second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. He is being held at the Middlesex County Adult Corrections Center.

Dwumfour's family and friends remembered her at the Hollywood Memorial Cemetery in Union Township with the unveiling of her headstone. It includes her image and all the roles that she played: daughter, wife, mother, sister, pastor and councilwoman.

"One of the things that everyone remarks about Eunice is that she was a very vivacious personality. Somebody who always had an optimism about her that was infectious that she never, as anyone could recall, had a negative word to say about anyone or anything," family attorney John Wisniewski told New Jersey 101.5.

"For the family, for her loved ones, for her friends, the frustration is that she was taken in such a seemingly random and violent way. That is the antithesis of who she was as a person makes it all the more tragic."

Rashid Ali Bynum at his arraignment in Middlesex County Superior Court 8/28/23 Eunice Dwumfour
Rashid Ali Bynum at his arraignment in Middlesex County Superior Court 8/28/23 (ABC 7 Eyewitness News via YouTube), Eunice Dwumfour (Linkedin)

Family asks how they could have helped

The former Democratic legislator was philosophical about the one-year anniversary of Dwumfour's death. When you leave a loved one, it could be the last time you ever see them.

"For the Dwumfour family, the last time they saw their daughter, the last time they spoke with their daughter, they had no reasonable expectation that that was going to be the very last time and so that is always a very moving observation and a frustrating observation," Wisniewski said. "They're always thinking about 'what could we have done differently? How could we have helped her.'"

Eunice Dwumfour's place at the dais during a Borough Council meeting 2/13/23
Eunice Dwumfour's place at the dais during a Borough Council meeting 2/13/23 (News 12 NJ)

The slow pace of American justice

Wisniewski said her family, which lived in Nigeria, is frustrated at the slow pace of the legal system, which is not as fast as it is portrayed on television drama. They are learning that defendants have the right to counsel with "high quality" attorneys working for Bynum, questioning every piece of evidence in the case. Wisniewski is confident it will still lead to a conviction for Bynum.

"I just can't see, no matter how good the lawyering would be, that there's any way defendant is going to have anything other than a guilty verdict," Wisniewski said.

His next court appearance is Tuesday but a trial won't start for several months.

Sayreville Mayor Kennedy O'Brien and the Borough Council shared their condolences on their Facebook page.

"Eunice, we miss your contagious smile, your boundless energy and your tireless dedication to serving the people of Sayreville. We will never forget you," their message read. Dwumfour was first Black woman elected to the borough council.

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