According to a new indictment by an Essex County grand jury, Kenyatta O’Bryant of North Plainfield, a 36-year-old counselor at Vailsburg Middle School, is now accused of arranging for his 2002 BMW 525i to be set on fire on April 13, 2006 in Weequahic Park in Newark.
The alleged torching of the car occurred six days before Newark police found the burning remains of a 2004 Acura TL leased by Wilkins. O’Bryant and Wilkins were indicted in April, with authorities alleging that Wilkins was trying to avoid $9,000 in mileage overages on the lease.
From the Sledger:
[O’Bryant] owed nearly $35,500 on the BMW when it was found by Newark police at 2:45 a.m., the nose partially submerged in a pond and the tail end ablaze, said prosecutors. O’Bryant, of North Plainfield, was informed that morning about the find and subsequently filed an insurance claim and a stolen car report.
But O’Bryant’s insurance company denied his insurance claim, prompting a lawsuit that is pending in Superior Court in Somerset County.
“My client continues to deny the allegations. We have not yet seen the new indictment, so we cannot yet specifically respond to each and every allegation,” said Joseph Rotella, O’Bryant’s lawyer.
Three New Jersey educators have been indicted on arson and insurance fraud charges this year in Essex County, where Prosecutor Paula Dow said cars are frequently dumped and set ablaze in schemes designed by people looking to get out from under car payments or to collect insurance.
Amanda Wright-Stafford, 51, the principal of the Lincoln Avenue Elementary School in Orange, was indicted last month on arson and insurance fraud charges related to her 2000 Honda Passport, which was found burning in East Orange in 2006.
Wilkins resigned in early May, though he is being paid through the end of this month.