Charges dropped in murder case, suspect no longer in custody

Written by Muleskinner Staff

(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) — The case has been dismissed for one of the two defendants accused of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in Warrensburg.
Ziyad T. Abid has been held in Johnson County Jail since Sept. 5 when he was arrested and charges were brought against him in the shooting death of Warrensburg bar owner William “Blaine” Whitworth.
Johnson County Prosecuting Attorney Lynn Stoppy released a statement early Friday that announced the case was dismissed.
“Very recently, our understanding of evidence previously obtained from a critical witness has changed,” Stoppy said in the release. “As a result, the state is currently left without sufficient evidence to support the prosecution at this time.”
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office, which has worked on the case since late June at Stoppy’s request, also released a statement about the case.
“Since being appointed to assist with the case approximately four weeks ago, we have carefully examined the evidence as it has developed,” the statement reads. “The prosecution does not currently have sufficient evidence to proceed with the case. First degree murder is the most serious offense that the State can charge. We have an ethical obligation to dismiss a case once it becomes clear that the evidence presently available to the prosecution is not sufficient to proceed.”
Abid’s attorneys, Patrick Peters and John R. Osgood, weighed in on the dismissal, and both said they expected this to happen because of lacking evidence against Abid.
“We elect prosecutors and trust in them seeking justice,” Peters said. “Although disappointed that it took 11 months, justice was done with the dismissal of these baseless charges. (Stoppy) should not be criticized for doing what she did, after the recent developments this wasn’t a tough decision, it was the only decision to be made.”
Osgood agreed completely with his co-counsel.
“In my view, it was overdue quite frankly,” Osgood said. “They didn’t have any evidence from the get go. The guy who actually killed Mr. Whitworth has given multiple accounts of what happened.”
Peters went on to express appreciation for the difficult decision Stoppy had to make based on recent developments.
“She deserves incredible credit for doing something she knew would be unpopular and doing the right thing anyway,” Peters said. “On the other development, information from Singletary crippled the case against Abid.”
During the time while Abid has been held, he lost his student visa. He is from Saudi Arabia and was an aviation student at the University of Central Missouri, but while incarcerated he couldn’t meet the standards to keep his status. Upon his release from Johnson County Jail, he was handed to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents because they had a detainer on him. Since  he no longer had a student visa, his status in the U.S. was as an illegal alien.
Abid was seen by ICE officials Friday and later released. Shawn Neudauer, a public affairs officer with ICE, released this statement:
“Ziyad Abid, 24, a citizen of Saudi Arabia, entered ICE custody on the afternoon of Aug. 2 based on an ICE detainer, and following his release from local authorities in Johnson County, Mo. He was issued a Notice to Appear before a federal immigration judge and was released on his own recognizance the same day.”
Peters gave no account of what Abid will do next, but did say they have a lot to discuss in the next week. Abid still faces a wrongful death civil suit filed by Whitworth’s parents. Both Abid’s attorneys expressed sympathy for Barry and Diane Whitworth.
“I feel sorry for the victim’s family because they have been put through a big ordeal and have had to deal with so much,” Osgood said. “They weren’t privy to the evidence and could only go by the charges. I feel sorry for them; they lost a son. It’s a terrible, terrible thing to deal with.”