In recent weeks two questions have perplexed the residents of Warrensburg, Mo., a humble town of about 20,000 people an hour east of Kansas City.
One question that has dominated local conversation is why local prosecutors suddenly and inexplicably dropped charges against Saudi national Ziyad Abid.
Nearly a year ago, Abid’s African-American roommate, Reginald Singletary Jr., told the police that Abid him paid him to kill popular local bar owner Blaine Whitworth, murdered in his driveway Sept. 1.
Warrensburg police arrested Abid on Sept. 5, 2012, and have held him in custody ever since. Circuit Judge Michael Wagner turned heads when he refused to release Abid despite the Saudi Arabian government’s willingness to post a $2 million bond.
According to Abid’s attorney, the police had coerced Singletary’s accusation. And now that he has changed his story, prosecutors had to drop murder charges against Abid. Singletary remains in jail.
As testimony to the depth of TV news, local or otherwise, the WDAF anchor boasted that Tecklenburg had spent “all day” digging into the case. Despite the heroic effort, however, Tecklenburg misidentified Abid’s attorney “Pat Peters” as “Pete Peters.”
Now for the second question that perplexes the locals: Why did President Obama bring his traveling road show to Warrensburg on July 24, nine days before Abid’s sudden release?
For some reason, Obama chose Warrensburg to speak about his alleged economic initiatives, but what that reason was eludes everyone.
Obama lost the state of Missouri by 10 points in 2012, and he lost Johnson County, where Warrensburg is located, by 24 points.
Had not Warrensburg been home to the University of Central Missouri, where Obama spoke, the loss would have been greater still.
It was the university that drew Abid to Missouri. If your cynical self guessed that he was studying aviation, you would be correct.
As to why he was rooming with a “hit man,” as Tecklenburg described him, is anyone’s guess.
Then, too, Gov. Jay Nixon, who met Obama at Warrensburg, could not have been thrilled to see him. As a moderate Democrat in a Republican-controlled state, he would hardly benefit from the association.
Nor would Attorney General Chris Koster, the likely 2016 Democratic candidate for governor. “It is very telling that the Democrats’ 2016 standard-bearer for Missouri, Chris Koster, will not even be seen with President Obama,” said Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones.
Koster, who was invited, did not show as predicted. He cited an obligation to visit a crime scene for a case he is prosecuting.
Also absent was Jason Kander, the ambitious youthful Missouri secretary of state. His office did not respond to requests as to why he distanced himself.
To be fair, it is altogether possible that Abid was framed by Singletary and that, after 11 months, Singletary decided to come clean.
It is possible, too, that Obama had some justifiable reason for choosing Warrensburg out of all the towns in America to visit.
What is certain, though, is that, after Benghazi, we have no reason to believe anything the White House would tell us about, well, just about anything.
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/08/did-obama-spring-saudi-murderer/#jk2kMrpB6CdSEqgV.99
Warrensburg Murder Suspect Freed: 4 Things To Know About Ziyad Abid
A Saudi national, 24-year-old Ziyad Abid, was charged for the September 2012 homicide of bar owner Blaine Whitworth, otherwise known as the Warrensburg murder. The Warrensburg murder suspect was charged with first-degree murder and has been denied bond twice due to fears that he would leave the country.
The Warrensburg murder suspect, Ziyad Abid, was freed after Reginald Singletary, a former employee of Whitworth and Abid's roommate, confessed to the murder. Reginald Singletary had initially told authorities that he was hired by Ziyad Abid to commit the Warrensburg murder, but prosecturs have been unable to find a motive.
"Abid was originally charged based on evidence resulting from the criminal investigation. Very recently, our understanding of evidence previously obtained from a critical witness has changed. As a result, the State is currently left without sufficient evidence to support the prosecution at this time," said Lynn Stoppy, Johnson County, Mo., prosecuting attorney.
"As a law enforcement agency, our job is to investigate crimes to the fullest, and then not intercede in the prosecution process once the case has been turned over to them. We have full faith and the utmost respect in our Prosecuting Attorney and the State Attorney General's Office and the difficult decisions they have to make.Due to the fact that there is a pending criminal case against Reginald Singletary, we will make no further comment," said Howey.
Here are four things to know about the now-former Warrensburg murder suspect Ziyad Abid:
1. Ziyad Abid is a Saudi national.
2. Ziyad Abid, at the time of his arrest, was studying at University of Central Missouri.
3. Ziyad Abid was studying to become a pilot and was passionate about aviation.
4. Ziyad Abid placed the money for his $2 million bond, but was not released as he was deemed a flightrisk. The money was put forth by the Saudi government after Abid's father, Tariq Abid, persuaded the government to have the money wired into the Johnson County court clerk's bank account.
Trial underway in slaying of Sherwood graduate, Warrensburg bar owner
A Cass County jury found 28-year-old Reginald Singletary, Jr., Kansas City, guilty of first-degree murder and armed criminal action following early Friday evening following a four-day trial.
Singletary was charged in the Sept. 1, 2012 murder of Garden City native Blaine Whitworth, 25. Whitworth died in the driveway of his Warrensburg home after Singletary fired three shots into his back.
Prosecutors described the 2005 graduate of Sherwood High School as a hard-working, successful business owner inside a Cass County courtroom during the trial. The case was moved to Harrisonville from Johnson County on a change of venue.
Before he was killed, Whitworth had became a well-known bar owner in Warrensburg.
Investigators say Singletary confessed to killing Whitworth, Initially he made claims that a University of Central Missouri student from Saudi Arabia had paid him to do it.
The case received international spotlight on the small university community when senior international aviation student Ziyad Abid, 24, was charged with the same crimes as Singletary and spent 11 months in the Johnson County Jail before prosecutors dropped the charges against him when a key witness stopped cooperating.
Abid had been arrested four days later after Singletary, who was also his roommate, told police he killed Whitworth, but Abid paid him to do it.
According to the Associated Press, prosecutors offered little evidence of Abid’s involvement other than Singletary’s statement, which defense attorneys claimed he made after being badgered by interrogators into pinning the crime on the Saudi.
Abid remained jailed for some time even though the required $2 million had been posted for his bond by the Saudi government.
Twice, Judge Michael Wagner denied Abid’s release on grounds he could be a flight risk or deported by the federal government before trial.
The case took a sudden twist when prosecutors dropped all charges against the Saudi national in August 2013 while Singletary remained in jail.
Throughout the trial, the jury heard from police who responded to the murder scene, criminal investigators, the medical examiner who performed Whitworth’s autopsy, along with friends of Whitworth, including his former bar manager, 25-year-old Kenneth “Tyler” Werle.
Werle said Singletary had worked at Whitworth’s bar, Molly’s, since May 2012.
According to investigators, Whitworth was shot on a Saturday night at his home at around 9:30 p.m.
Whitworth had been working at his bar, Molly’s. earlier in the day, and was planning to return later in the evening to bartend.
Werle said he had last seen Whitworth at the bar at around 8 p.m.
The last thing Whitworth said to his friend that evening was, “See ya later, brother.”
At around 10 p.m., Werle began to wonder why Whitworth hadn’t shown back up at the bar.
“He was never not there,” said Werle, of Whitworth being at the bar on weekend nights.
Werle tried contacting Whitworth by phone to no avail. A group of girls came into the bar later in the night, at around 12:30 a.m. Sept. 2, and said that they had heard Whitworth had been shot, which was later confirmed to be true.
Within a matter of days, Singletary admitted to shooting Whitworth, and led detectives to the murder weapon that was buried in a commuter lot in Higginsville.
Upon sentencing, scheduled for June 16 in Johnson County, Singletary could face a life sentence at a Missouri Department of Corrections facility without the possibility of parole.
Warrensburg bar owner
Posted on: 11:00 am, April 29, 2014, by Michelle Pekarsky, updated on: 05:09pm, April 29, 2014
HARRISONVILLE, Mo. — The man accused of killing a popular Warrensburg bar owner in September 2012 is to stand trial Tuesday for first-degree murder.
Reginald Singletary, 28, was one of two men arrested for William Blaine Whitworth’s murder.
However, in August 2013, charges were dropped against Ziyad T. Abid, who has since returned to Saudi Arabia.
Investigators say Singletary, a bouncer at Whitworth’s bar called “Molly’s”, told them Ziyad Abid paid him to murder Whitworth.
Whitworth was found at his Warrensburg home on Sept. 1, 2012, shot and killed. He was 25-years old.
Reginald Singletary implicated Aiyad Abid in a murder-for-hire plot, but charges were later dropped against Abid. Singletary stands trial for the murder of William Blaine Whitworth.
Less than a year after their arrests, and after a judge twice refused to release Abid even though his family was able to post two million dollars in bond, prosecutors announced they were dropping charges against Abid because they no longer had evidence to support the charges.
Lynn Stoppy, Johnson County, Mo., prosecuting attorney said in August that their understanding of evidence in the case had changed.
“Abid was originally charged based on evidence resulting from the criminal investigation. Very recently, our understanding of evidence previously obtained from a critical witness has changed. As a result, the State is currently left without sufficient evidence to support the prosecution at this time,” said Stoppy.
Singletary’s trial was moved out of the Warrensburg, Johnson County, Mo., area to Harrisonville in Cass County.
Singletary graduated from Winnetonka High School in 2003, and then went to Missouri Valley College to play football as a linebacker. He later returned to Winnetonka as a parprofessional and football coach during the 2010-2011 season. The district said he left in good standing to take another job in February 2011.
2014 KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A Kansas City man accused of killing a popular Missouri bar owner goes to court this week in a trial that could shed some light on claims that a college student from Saudi Arabia paid him to take the businessman's life.
Reginald Singletary, 28, is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the Sept. 1, 2012, shooting death of Blaine Whitworth. The 25-year-old Warrensburg bar owner was gunned down in his driveway.
His trial is scheduled to begin Tuesday in Cass County on a change of venue from Johnson County. His public defender, Craig Napier, didn't return calls seeking comment.
According to a probable cause statement, Singletary was arrested three days later and admitted to investigators that he shot Whitworth with a handgun at the request of Ziyad Abid in exchange for money.
That statement led to the arrest of Abid, a senior aviation student at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, on the same charges as Singletary. The Saudi Arabian government posted $2 million for Abid in April 2013, but Circuit Judge Michael Wagner refused to free the 24-year-old because he was afraid the Saudi would flee or be deported.
Court documents, including dozens of motions filed while Abid's lawyers were trying to get him released, mention neither a motive for Whitworth's slaying nor any evidence against Abid other than Singletary's statement to investigators.
Abid's attorneys have said Singletary was fired as a bouncer at one of Whitworth's two bars a week before the shooting, and that the only evidence tying Abid to the crime was Singletary's claims.
"Very recently, our understanding of evidence previously obtained from a critical witness has changed," Stoppy said in an email to The Associated Press on Aug. 2. "As a result, the state is currently left without sufficient evidence to support the prosecution at this time."
Stoppy's announcement was heartbreaking for Whitworth's parents, who said they believed Abid was getting away with murder.
Barry Whitworth, Blaine's father, told the AP last week it will be good to get the criminal matter resolved, but it won't heal the family's wounds.
"We are happy but nervous about the opportunity to finally realize justice for the murder of Blaine," he said. "Nothing can bring Blaine back, and even with a successful prosecution there will be no happiness -- only some closure."
The trial is scheduled for four days in Harrisonville.
(KANSAS CITY, Mo., AP) — A former University of Central Missouri aviation student who was accused of paying his roommate to kill a Warrensburg bar owner is back home in Saudi Arabia, nearly three weeks after charges against him were dropped.
Ziyad Abid, 24, who spent 11 months in the Johnson County jail without bond on first-degree murder and armed criminal action charges, flew out of Kansas City on Monday to Washington, D.C., defense attorney Pat Peters said. He left Washington on Tuesday and landed in Saudi Arabia early Wednesday.
“I think the immediate thing is, he wanted to and was expected to see his family,” Peters said. “That had been part of the ongoing stress while he was in jail, that he hadn’t seen his mom and family.”
Blaine Whitworth, a popular 25-year-old bar owner in the small university community of about 23,000 people, was shot to death in his driveway Sept. 1. Abid was arrested four days later after his roommate, Reginald Singletary Jr., told police he killed Whitworth, but Abid paid him to do it.
Prosecutors offered little evidence of Abid’s involvement other than Singletary’s statement, which defense attorneys claimed he made after being badgered by interrogators into pinning the crime on the Saudi.
Peters said he has never been involved in a case in which speculation posted on social media played such a significant role in shaping how it was handled. The rumors, including that Abid was a Saudi prince who had loaned Whitworth $50,000 and wanted his bar, didn’t make sense, he said.
“It is what we call our first Facebook case, where comments people would make took on evidentiary value,” Peters said. “When they were checked out, they just didn’t add up.”
Abid was preparing to begin his senior year at Central Missouri, where he was studying aviation and planned to become a pilot like his father, when he was taken into custody. His student visa lapsed when he couldn’t attend classes and was expelled by the school, which made him an “alien unlawfully in the United States.”
Circuit Judge Jacqueline Cook set bond at $2 million in November, along with a number of other conditions, then retired and handed the case to Circuit Judge Michael Wagner.
The Saudi government posted $2 million bond in April, but Wagner refused to releaseAbid because he considered him a flight risk who could be deported if he were freed. Wagner also rejected arguments by defense attorneys and prosecutors, alike, that Missouri’s constitution required bond to be set.
Johnson County prosecutor Lynn Stoppy dismissed charges against Abid on July 26 after a grand jury indicted him on the same counts, then she immediately refiled them.
A week later she announced she was dropping charges again because evidence from a critical witness had changed. Attorney General Chris Koster’s office, which joined the case in July as special prosecutor, also acknowledged the evidence against Abidwas weak.
Abid’s departure from the U.S. came as no surprise to Whitworth’s mother, Diane Whitworth, who had expressed concerns earlier this year that Abid would flee the country if he were released from custody.
“This is what we expected all along if he got the chance,” she said.