Prosecutors drop murder case against Saudi national accused in death of Warrensburg bar owner
10:55 AM, Aug 2, 2013
12:50 PM, Aug 3, 2013
WARRENSBUG, Mo. (AP) - Charges against a Saudi national accused of paying his roommate to kill a Warrensburg bar owner were dropped Friday after information from a critical witness changed, leaving the state with insufficient evidence to prosecute him.
Ziyad Abid was briefly taken into custody Friday by immigration officials then released on his own recognizance hours after Johnson County prosecutors dismissed all charges.
Abid, 24, had been jailed since Sept. 5 on first-degree murder and armed criminal action charges. His case gained national attention when Circuit Judge Michael Wagner refused to release him after the Saudia Arabian government posted $2 million bail.
Abid was arrested after his roommate, Reginald Singletary Jr., told investigators that he killed bar owner Blaine Whitworth last September, and that Abid had paid him to do it.
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.