Resorts Hotel Casino Guests Indicted for January Murder of Atlantic City Man

Posted on: May 3, 2024, 04:44h. 

Last updated on: May 3, 2024, 08:44h.

A couple who stayed at Resorts Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City in January has been indicted for the murder of a local man.

Atlantic City murder charges homicide
Suspects Howard Griswold and Melissa Tikaram are accused of murdering an Atlantic City man. The two robbed the man before gunning him down on an Atlantic City sidewalk before fleeing back to Upstate New York. (Image: Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office)

A New Jersey grand jury in Atlantic County this week returned an indictment against Howard Griswold, 24, and Melissa Tikaram, 28, for the January 20 homicide of 32-year-old Christian Hunter.

According to prosecutors, Atlantic City Police officers found Hunter on a sidewalk along the 100 block of N. Virginia Avenue suffering from gunshot wounds. He was transported to AtlantiCare Medical Center where he was pronounced deceased.

“A subsequent autopsy procedure performed by the New Jersey South Regional Medical Examiner’s Office determined the cause of death was a gunshot wound and the manner of death was determined to be homicide,” a statement read from the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office.

Video surveillance showed Hunter leaving his house and walking a short distance before a compact SUV approached him.

Give me that sh*t,” a voice can be heard yelling from a vehicle identified as a Nissan Rogue. A man exits the vehicle as the sound of two gunshots are heard. The assailant jumps back in the vehicle as it speeds off while Hunter falls to the ground.

Hunter’s pockets were turned inside out, and his wallet and cell phone were missing.

Couple Indicted

Friends of Hunters called his cell phone later that night and Griswold allegedly answered. During the investigation, police determined that the phone was answered from inside a hotel room at Resorts.

A casino hotel room was booked under Tikaram’s name, and investigators later realized that a Nissan Rogue was registered under her name in her home state of New York.

Phone records show that the killing wasn’t random, as Hunter had been in contact with Tikaram before the attack. Tikaram, police believe, was also in a relationship with Griswold.

Griswold and Tikaram were arrested in February in upstate New York and returned to New Jersey to face their charges. The prosecutor’s office said Griswold and Tikaram have both been charged with murder and accompanying charges.

The investigation was conducted by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office’s Major Crimes Unit and the Atlantic City Police Department’s Violent Crimes Unit.

“The charges are merely an accusation and not proof of guilt,” the prosecutor’s office added. “In all criminal cases, a charged defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.” 

AC Safety

The January 20 murder of Hunter was one of five murders in the first month of the year in Atlantic City. The violent beginning to 2024 followed 2023 when Atlantic City saw only seven murders in the entire year.

Mayor Marty Small Sr. said that month that the murders were “unacceptable” and that his administration would “move forward to prevent anything else from happening.” Atlantic City is amid the installation of about 200 surveillance cameras through a $5 million state-financed security initiative.

Small has since found himself on the wrong side of the law. The mayor is facing child endangerment and other charges from the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office. Small and his wife Dr. La’Quetta Small, the superintendent of Atlantic City Public Schools, are alleged to have physically and mentally abused their teenage daughter.