A Saudi national in Missouri accused of first-degree murder—and who remained in jail for 11 months even after the Saudi Arabian government posted his $2 million bail—is a free man.
Ziyad Abid was accused of paying his roommate to kill a popular bar owner in Warrensburg, Mo., a town about an hour east of Kansas City, but prosecutors dropped those charges Friday due to insufficient evidence, according to the Associated Press.
And many in Warrensburg are livid.
“There’s a stench to this, this town is outraged,” resident Steve Ciafullo told WDAF-TV. “Anyone else would face trial, he might be innocent but he should stand trial like everybody else should.”
Mike Bodenhamer was a friend and business partner of the victim, Blaine Whitworth, and believes Abid’s release is nothing but dirty politics.
“He’s smiling on his way home probably,” Bodenhamer told WDAF. “The fix was in a long time ago in my opinion.”
Abid, 24, was briefly taken into custody Friday by immigration officials then released on his own recognizance hours after Johnson County prosecutors dismissed all charges, the AP reported.
The case against Abid, who had been jailed since Sept. 5, drew national attention when Circuit Judge Michael Wagner refused to release him even after the Saudi Arabian government posted his $2 million bail, according to the AP.
Abid was arrested after his roommate, Reginald Singletary Jr., told investigators Abid paid him to kill Whitworth last September, the AP said. But Abid’s attorney insisted that police led Singletary to accuse Abid, and now Singletary’s story has allegedly changed, WDAF reports, which led to charges being dropped.
More from the AP:
Circuit Judge Jacqueline Cook set bond at $2 million in November — along with a number of other conditions — but said she was concerned Abid was a flight risk. She also expressed concerns that Abid would be deported because his student visa had lapsed when he could not attend classes at the University of Central Missouri.
Cook retired and handed the case to Wagner, who also said he was deeply troubled by the possibility that Abid would be deported if released from jail.
Singletary remains in jail on $1 million bond and has pleaded not guilty.
Abid’s attorney, Pat Peters, said in a motion filed with a state appeals court this week that Singletary had refused to answer questions during a deposition Tuesday.
Abid was preparing to enter his senior year at Central Missouri, where he was studying aviation and had planned to become a pilot like his father.
Here’s a report from KSHB-TV: