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Saudi college students remains behind bars after $2M bond posted

Jun 5, 2013 by

WARRENSBURG, Mo. (AP) — Ziyad Abid was a Missouri college student aspiring to become a pilot like his father back home in Saudi Arabia when he was accused of paying his roommate to kill a local bar owner. The judge set bond at $2 million, completely out of reach for his family — but not for the Saudi government.

The money came in. Yet two months later, Abid remains jailed because a judge is refusing to let him out. The judge acknowledged he may be violating the Missouri Constitution, which allows suspects to be held without bond only in capital murder cases.

But the judge won’t budge. Or explain why.

Abid’s lawyers, including a former U.S. attorney for Missouri, have asked a state appeals court to release Abid and remove Circuit Judge Michael Wagner from the case, arguing that he’s biased in part by Abid’s nationality. The court has given Wagner until Monday to respond.

Abid was studying aviation at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg when his roommate, Reginald Singletary Jr., admitted killing popular bar owner Blaine Whitworth in September but claimed Abid paid him to do it, according to court documents. Prosecutors haven’t disclosed an alleged motive, but defense attorneys said Abid had no personal connection to Whitworth and that Singletary had been fired as the bar’s bouncer.

‘‘There’s no indication whatsoever this case has anything to do with any kind of subversive activity or terrorism,’’ said defense attorney John Osgood, the former federal prosecutor. ‘‘This is a plain, old simple murder of a bar owner done by a bouncer who was fired a week before. My client just happened to be his roommate.’’

Both men are charged with first-degree murder, but not capital murder, and armed criminal offense. If convicted, they could face up to life in prison.

Johnson County prosecutor Lynn Stoppy declined to comment on case details, but said she agreed with a previous judge’s ruling that Abid should be granted bond. An attorney for Singletary, who remains jailed on $1 million bond, declined comment.

Wagner hasn’t returned messages from The Associated Press.

via Saudi remains behind bars after $2M bond posted – Education –

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