Bond hearing set for Saudi student in Warrensburg murder case

A central Missouri judge has scheduled a bond hearing this week for a Saudi national who continues to be held on a first-degree murder charge, even after the Saudi government paid the $2 million bond set by a previous judge.

Ziyad Abid, 24, was arrested in September after his roommate, Reginald Singletary Jr., told investigators he fatally shot popular Warrensburg bar owner Blaine Whitworth and that Abid had paid him to do it. Both men were charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action and have pleaded not guilty.

Johnson County Circuit Judge Jacqueline Cook, initially denied bond for Abid in November because she feared the University of Central Missouri aviation student was a flight risk. Two weeks later she said Missouri’s Constitution required bond and set it at $2 million, with several stipulations to ensure he showed up for trial.

She then said she was retiring, recused herself and handed the case to Circuit Judge Michael Wagner. Abid’s attorneys spent the next few months trying to get the bond lowered, but Wagner wouldn’t budge.

Abid’s father, Saudi Airlines pilot Tariq Abid, eventually persuaded the Saudi government to post the $2 million bond, according to court records. The money was wired April 5 into the Johnson County court clerk’s account.

Two days later, Wagner announced that the money that was posted didn’t meet the stipulations set forth in Cook’s bond order, including that it had to be posted by a bail bond agent with proven resources to cover the $2 million in case.

In May, Abid’s lawyers filed a motion asking Missouri’s Western District Court of Appeals to release their client and remove Wagner from the case, arguing that he is biased because of Abid’s nationality.

The appeals court on June 13 denied the motion, noting that Wagner had previously offered to hear further defense evidence to show why Abid should be allowed to bond out.

“We trust that Judge Wagner will conduct any further hearing that Abid requests in an expedited fashion and issue a prompt decision concerning conditions of release thereafter,” the court wrote.

Wagner set a new bond hearing for Tuesday morning in Johnson County. Pat Peters, one of Abid’s attorneys, declined to comment before then.