Broward County

How a $20 crack debt turned into a deadly stabbing

Brian Rahim was arrested and charged with Kelen Joseph’s murder.
Brian Rahim was arrested and charged with Kelen Joseph’s murder.

Twenty bucks is the reason why a man was stabbed to death and a teen is in custody in the murder, according to police.

Margate officers say Kelen Joseph, 35, was stabbed multiple times and left for dead in a driveway where his brother found him Nov. 20, two days after he was last seen. They arrested Brian Rahim, 17, Wednesday on a second-degree murder charge.

According to witnesses and an arrest report, the motive appears to be a $20 crack-dealing debt.

According to the affidavit, police were still handling the crime scene at 695 Melaleuca Dr. when Joseph’s girlfriend told them her late boyfriend was a known crack street dealer. She pointed them to a nearby apartment where she said a few crack users lived and Joseph often visited.

On their way to the apartment, police say the property manager handed them a blue Cuisinart knife he had found the previous day and showed them a trail of blood in the hallway where he found the knife. The three people who lived in the apartment each identified Rahim by photo as the young man they knew just as “Jit” (common street slang for lawbreaking teenager).

One of the residents said Rahim recently entered looking for a knife and that a blue Cuisinart knife was missing from the home. She also said Rahim showed up at her place one night with a visible bite mark, bloody shirt and a sandwich bag of crack. When she asked who he robbed, Rahim replied he had just gotten some money back from a friend who owed him.

The affidavit says another woman told police Rahim had been at her place between 9 and 9:30 p.m. Nov. 18. She said he told her that he was looking for Joseph and was agitated.

Joseph owed him $20.

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal