Despite grievances, trials progress for defendants

Written by Muleskinner Staff

Story by ANDY LYONS, News Editor—
Both men accused of murder in the death of Warrensburg bar owner William “Blaine” Whitworth are getting closer to trial.
The attorney for Ziyad T. Abid, who is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action, filed a motion for change of judge Monday.
Last week, Judge R. Michael Wagner amended Judge Jacqueline Cook’s prior order allowing Abid a chance to bond out of Johnson County Jail, where he has been held since Sept. 5, 2012. Wagner denied Abid bond.
The state has begun listing its evidence through the discovery process, which is where both sides share evidence, witnesses and other information.  In court filings from April 9, Johnson County Prosecutor Lynn Stoppy presented the state’s trial evidence, which includes an autopsy report of Whitworth, crime scene photographs, phone records and a recorded interview of Abid.
Attorneys for Abid have filed grievances with the court, which included failures in the discovery process, delays in responses to filings, and allowing photographs to be taken in the courtroom during Abid’s initial court appearance. The grievances also include claims that Abid was denied access to an attorney, which violates states law, and was denied access to his consulate, which violates federal law.
“One would think that Missouri statutes and Supreme Court Rules designed to protect the integrity of the system would be scrupulously followed when the prosecutor has charged murder in the first degree. Apparently not,” Abid’s attorney, Patrick Peters, wrote in court filings.
To conclude the grievances, Peters requested the state be “ordered to show-cause why witnesses and exhibits should not be excluded as a sanction for such conduct.”
The state responded by citing case law that gives the prosecution “wide discretion” involving the rules of discovery, according to court records.
“There has been no intentional disregard for the rules and Orders of the court,” Stoppy wrote in response. “There has been no discovery violation.”
Abid has a pretrial conference scheduled for April 29. The jury trial is set to begin June 4 in the Division II courtroom at the Johnson County Justice Center. He is a former UCM student and is currently listed as held at the Johnson County jail with no bond amount.
According to court records, the state has filed a list of 44 witnesses for the trial of Reginald L. Singletary, also charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action. He has a pretrial conference scheduled for Aug. 5. His trial is set to begin Sept. 17 in the Division II courtroom at the Johnson County Justice Center.
Singletary is also being held at the Johnson County Jail on a $1 million bond. He admitted to police after he was arrested that he shot Whitworth with a handgun, according to court records.