WARRENSBURG, Mo. -- Ziyad Abid was charged in a murder-for-hire plot against a small-town bar owner, William Blaine Whitworth. The case was supposed to go to trial soon. But Friday, the prosecutor in Johnson County, Mo. announced that all charges against Abid have been dropped.
Prosecutor Lynn Stoppy wouldn't talk to FOX 4 on Friday, referring only to her statement, which said that very recently, evidence obtained from a critical witness has changed. As a result, the state is forced to dismiss the charges against Abid.
Abid's defense attorney said it's the right call, but people in Warrensburg are not happy.
“There’s a stench to this, this town is outraged,” resident Steve Ciafullo said. “Anyone else would face trial, he might be innocent but he should stand trial like everybody else should.”
It seems like everyone in Warrensburg has been following the Whitworth murder case, and people are shocked to hear that all charges against Abid are dismissed.
“I'm really shocked, I wanted to see the case all the information and let the jury decide,” resident Peggy Brown said.
Reginald Singletary is the man who admitted to shooting Whitworth outside his Warrensburg home almost a year ago, September 1, 2012. Back then he told police he did it because his roommate, Abid, paid him.
But Abid's defense attorney has said all along, that never happened.
“11 months of investigation has shown no link, no hint, no suggestion that Abid was in any way involved in the killing but it ultimately takes Mr. Singletary being asked questions in order to put the lie to rest,” defense attorney Pat Peters said.
Peters said he's grateful to the prosecutor for seeing the truth.
“I wish it could have been done earlier, but has ultimately done the right thing,” Peters said.
He said the police interrogation tapes show that police are to blame for bringing Abid’s name into this in the first place.
“When you lead someone and tell them what to say and they say what you told them to, that's not very good investigation and that's an issue that's been going on for 11 months,” Peters said.
Police Chief Bruce Howey didn't respond to that specific charge, saying only that it's their job to investigate crimes to their fullest, and then not interfere with the prosecution of the case.
He added he's disappointed the charges are dismissed, a feeling many seem to share.
Mike Bodenhamer was Whitworth’s friend and business partner. He thinks the charges being dismissed against Abid is a political move.
“Pretty disappointed, and he's smiling on his way home probably. The fix was in a long time ago in my opinion,” Bodenhamer said.
Abid is already out of the Johnson County, Mo. jail. Since his student visa expired while he was in jail, he will now need to deal with that in an immigration court. That charge is minor and he will probably be able to bond out soon.