Suspect in Aniah Blanchard case faces second capital murder charge
Court documents also reveal new details about suspect Ibraheem Yazeed
LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - Ibraheem Yazeed, originally charged with kidnapping in the case of Aniah Blanchard, is now facing two counts of capital murder.
Yazeed was charged with the first count of capital murder on Monday. The second count was served against him Wednesday while he was in court. The two counts are for Blanchard’s death during a kidnapping and for her death occurring inside a motor vehicle.
A court filing that lays out the probable cause for a murder warrant revealed new information in the case. It states that an unnamed “subject” saw Yazeed at a Montgomery home wearing only shorts. He had a gun “tucked into the shorts.” The person indicated that while they never saw Blanchard, Yazeed did have her vehicle and that he admitted to shooting “a girl” and she “went for the gun.”
The warrant also included new details about the night Blanchard was kidnapped.
It states a witness saw Yazeed interacting with Blanchard near her vehicle in front of the convenience store where she was last seen. A previous affidavit related to Yazeed’s kidnapping charge said a witness identified Yazeed as the person he saw “forcing Blanchard into a vehicle against her will and then leaving with her in the vehicle.” It’s unclear if that was the same witness.
In court Wednesday, Yazeed talked with the judge about the evidence and charges against him.
“They don’t have no video, no audio of me shooting anyone, that’s why I’m trying to see how y’all going to bind me over on hearsay, but y’all aren’t presenting no evidence. And then now there’s a whole different statement. It’s a whole different convenience store you’re saying so why aren’t the kidnapping and all that did not get dismissed,” Yazeed said.
The judge said he wasn’t going to argue law enforcement’s case, and these were conversations Yazeed should have with his attorney.
The new warrant also includes information about additional video evidence in the case.
“Further video evidence was located from a separate gas station in Auburn depicting Yazeed exiting the passenger side of Blanchard’s vehicle and later re-entering the vehicle,” the document states.
Blanchard was last seen late on the night of Oct. 23 at a convenience store on South College Street in Auburn and was reported missing the following day.
Blanchard was seen on surveillance video inside the Auburn convenience store around 11:30 the night she disappeared. Yazeed was captured on video inside the store at the same time.
Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes said Monday that he’ll seek the death penalty, and added that officials have determined Yazeed was the lone person involved in Blanchard’s abduction and murder.
Two other people have been charged in connection with the case. Antwon “Squirmy” Fisher is charged with kidnapping for allegedly providing transportation to Yazeed and disposing of evidence, and David Johnson Jr. is charged with hindering prosecution.
Blanchard’s Honda CR-V was found Friday, Oct. 25 at a Montgomery apartment complex not far from Atlanta Highway. It had damage along its passenger side.
An affidavit stated blood “indicative of someone suffering a life-threatening injury” was found in the passenger compartment of the SUV. Forensic testing confirmed the blood was Blanchard’s.
Human remains found in rural Macon County on Nov. 25 were positively identified through DNA analysis as being Blanchard’s. Hughes said an autopsy determined the woman had been shot to death.
Blanchard’s disappearance made national attention. She was from the Birmingham area and a student at Southern Union State Community College in Opelika.
After Yazeed’s court appearance, the judge heard arguments concerning the current gag order that’s in place in this case. An attorney representing a number of news organizations across the state, including WSFA, asked the court to lift the gag order. Other attorneys for the defense and the city of Auburn objected.
The judge did not make a ruling in court, agreeing to take this issue under advisement.
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