A Warrensburg murder case involving the execution-style slaying of a bar owner has suddenly shifted after investigators dropped charges against the man once considered the main suspect.
Saudi national Ziyad Abid had been charged with first-degree murder for the September 2012 shooting death of bar owner Blaine Whitworth. A former bar employee, Reginald Singletary, had confessed to the murder but said he was hired by his roommate Abid.
On Friday prosecutors announced they would drop charges in the Warrensburg murder case after new evidence from a “critical witness” had changed. They did not elaborate on the new evidence or if there could be new suspects or charges related to the murder.
Police chief Bruce Howley said he was disappointed but will abide by the decision.
“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,” he said, adding that the pending case against Singletary prevented the office from any further comment.
Abid’s attorney said they are relieved to finally have the case dismissed.
“We are thrilled that this nightmare is behind us,” defense attorney Pat Peters told KCTV5 News. “There isn’t a case against our client because he’s innocent.”
Peters questioned Singletary’s credibility, saying his story about the murder changed many times. The attorney said he believes police coached Singletary on what to say.
Abid’s student visa expired while was in jail, and Peters said he is now completing paperwork to avoid an immigrations violation.
“He is a 24-year-old Saudi, who has been put through hell. I don’t know what I would do. He has some decisions to be making,” Peters said. “It just hit today… We thought we were headed in this direction, but we didn’t think it would occur this quickly.”
Abid was in college at the University of Central Missouri to become a pilot at the time of the Warrensburg murder. After his arrest on Wednesday, the Saudi government had put up his $2 million bond, but he wasn’t freed.