Defendants plead not guilty in Whitworth murder case

Written by Muleskinner Staff

By ANDY LYONS (WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) – The two defendants in the William Blaine Whitworth murder case entered not guilty pleas during separate arraignment hearings Tuesday in Johnson County Circuit Court.
Whitworth was shot and killed in his driveway Sept. 1 at 1006 Sunflower on the east side of Warrensburg. Ziyad Abid and Reginald Singletary were charged Sept. 5 with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the case.
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.
Both defendants recently had their cases moved from Associate Court to Division I Court with review hearings scheduled for Nov. 13.
Abid and Singletary appeared separately before Division 1 Circuit Judge Jacqueline A. Cook for arraignment Tuesday. Both pleaded not guilty.
Singletary is being held at the Johnson County Jail on $1 million bond.
Associate Court Judge Wanda Sue Dodson ruled Sept. 6 that Abid be held without bail, agreeing with Johnson County Prosecuting Attorney Lynn Stoppy that Abid was a flight risk. He is an international student at UCM from Saudi Arabia.
The legal process continues to advance in the case with Johnson County Prosecutor Lynn Stoppy filing requests for disclosure and discovery.
University of Central Missouri criminal justice professor Dane Miller said the discovery process is necessary for the plaintiff and defendant to learn what information both sides plan to submit in court.
“This is the process by which each side is given relevant material held by the other side,” Miller said. “For example, the prosecution may wish to know if the defense will seek to produce an expert witness, or the defense may wish to discover the names of those who conducted tests on the evidence gathered.”
The requests for disclosure help the prosecution and defense prepare for the trial.  Miller said that in Missouri, there are certain things the prosecution and the defense are entitled to without the necessity of a court order. On the other hand, there are certain things that the parties might be entitled to only by court order.
“An example of the latter might be a person’s medical records or perhaps access to a juvenile file,” he said. “In the latter circumstance, the court will conduct a hearing as to the necessity for disclosure of the material in question.”
Miller said requests for disclosure are on file because if a request is made and one of the parties fails to comply without good cause, there could be repercussions.
Singletary’s case review hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Nov. 13.
The next hearing for Abid is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Nov. 13.