The attorneys of a Saudi student, who was charged for the murder of a local bar owner in the U.S. state of Missouri, urged the court on Friday to set a bond for him, arguing the case brought against him was unfounded.
The lawyers said the charges against Ziyad Abid were based solely on a statement made by the person who admitted to opening fire on the victim.
Abid’s attorneys are Patrick Peters, of the Peters & Peters Law Firm in Kansas City, and John Osgood, of the Osgood Law Office in Lee’s Summit.
Along with Abid, another man, Reginald Singletary, was charged on Sept. 5 with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the killing of bar owner Blaine Whitworth.
After he was arrested, Singletary admitted to shooting Whitworth and told the police that Abid paid him to carry out the murder.
Singletary’s wife told investigators that he is a pathological liar.
Abid’s attorneys argued that there was no actual physical or forensic evidence connecting Abid, 23, to the crime and he was only detained and charged based on the statement of the shooter.
The court previously refused to set any bail on Abid because Missouri law states that immigrant students in the U.S. who carry out criminal acts lose their student status, and is not entitled to bail.
Abid’s attorneys argued that until a United States immigration judge makes such a ruling after a full hearing, the student should not be treated as a criminal, assuming his visa has not expired. It was then declared that Abid was “out of status” as a student but that his visa had not expired.
The court rejected the argument, citing federal law, and declined to set any bond for Abid.
Attorney John Osgood expressed his disappointment at the ruling, noting, “I very much wanted to see a bond set. It is far more difficult to prepare the defense when access to the client is limited because he is confined in jail.”
Attorney Peters echoed similar sentiments, saying, “We are convinced of our client’s innocence and were hopeful that he would be able to be released on bond so that we would have better access and opportunity to work with him to prepare for trial.”
Both attorneys expressed their belief that once the evidence fully comes to light, it will be proven that Abid was wrongly accused and the Saudi student will be acquitted of all charges.