Story by ANDY LYONS, News Editor—
On Jan. 11, attorneys for Ziyad T. Abid requested that the bail amount be reduced from $2 million to Abid’s “release on his own recognizance or given a reasonable bond,” according to court documents.
Abid is accused, along with Reginald L. Singletary, of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the September murder of Warrensburg bar owner William “Blaine” Whitworth.
Court documents, filed by Abid’s attorneys, state that the bond of $2 million is “a bond which no 23 year old college student could possibly make.”
The documents also state that Abid’s illegal alien status should have no bearing on the bail amount.
The reasons include that the “any legal alien who is detained indefinitely will lose his or her visa status, because the alien can no longer go to school, or go to work, or will overstay the visa due to the indefinite detention.”
The court initially determined that Abid was an “alien unlawfully present in the United States,” which is why he was denied bail. His status here became unlawful when he lost his student visa.
If the offense is not bailable, a person who is in the U.S. unlawfully can be kept in jail without bail until tried in court, according to state statutes.
The Missouri Constitution, which guarantees those accused of crimes the right to bond out of jail, provides that “all persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, except for capital offenses, when proof is evident or the presumption great.”
Abid’s charges are not capital offenses, according to court records. Also, the constitution stipulates that bail can be denied if evidence in a case has been presented or if the defendant poses a danger to the public.
“Whether the United States government should deport anyone who is awaiting trial on a serious offense in a sovereign state of this country is one which Congress must resolve,” Judge Jacqueline Cook wrote in her decision to allow bail.
Abid has not yet bonded out of the Johnson County Jail as of Wednesday evening.
And to do so, he must meet stringent conditions: $2 million surety bond only; he must be on electronic monitoring, at his own cost; he must be supervised by a pretrial supervision agency approved by the court; he must report to court one time per month; he must turn over his passport and all other travel documents; he must turn over his pilot’s license; he shall not leave the state of Missouri; he shall have no contact with the victim’s family; he shall have no contact with any witness endorsed by the state of Missouri or their family; he shall have no contact with the co-defendant or his family; and he cannot be in Johnson County except for scheduled court appearances or for trial preparation and only if accompanied by his attorneys.
The surety must be a licensed surety bail bond agent through the state of Missouri with sufficient available security to cover the full amount of the bond should the defendant fail to appear and forfeiture be ordered.
Singletary told police after he was arrested that he shot Whitworth with a handgun “at the request of Ziyad T. Abid in exchange for money from Abid,” according to court records.
Barry and Diane Whitworth, Blaine’s parents, wrote to Judge Cook prior to her taking up the motion to reconsider bond.
It was a plea to the judge not to give Abid the opportunity to leave the United States. They also filed a civil wrongful death suit on Dec. 26.
Abid and Singletary appeared separately for arraignment Oct. 9. Both pleaded not guilty.
Singletary is being held at the Pettis County Jail in Sedalia, Mo. on $1 million bond. His attorney requested a change of venue in November but there has been no ruling in favor or against the move yet.
Abid’s next hearing is Jan. 22 at 1:30 p.m. under Judge Michael Wagner. Singletary’s next hearing is Jan. 22 at 10 a.m. under Judge Wagner also.