MO appeals court upholds controversial bond for Saudi student - WNEM TV 5

MO appeals court upholds controversial bond for Saudi student

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A Missouri appeals court has upheld a controversial bail-bond ruling involving a Saudi Arabia student accused of murdering a Warrensburg bar owner.

The Saudi Arabia government posted a $2 million bond on behalf of Ziyad Abid, but Judge Michael Wagner refused to release Abid.

The appeals court said Wagner has expressed a willingness to hold a new bonding hearing, and that should occur.

Abid has been charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in connection with the September slaying of Blaine Whitworth.

A previous judge found that Abid was a foreign resident in the United States illegally and denied him bail. The judge changed his mind and issued bail conditions, but said they would have to be difficult to ensure that the defendant was present for the criminal process.

That judge set the $2 million but specified "the surety must be a licensed surety bail bond agent through the state of Missouri in good standing with sufficient available surety to cover the bond should the defendant fail to appear and forfeiture be ordered."

The November order further said, "The defendant shall not be released on bond until the surety's capacity to secure the bond is established." The goal, according to the appeals court, was to ensure Abid's appearance at trial and protect the community.

Abid was ordered to surrender his passport, other travel documents and pilot's license.

In January, Wagner began to handle the case, and rejected Abid's request to lower the bond to 10 percent of the $2 million.

And Wagner found that the Saudi government posting the $2 million did not satisfy the order for a surety bond through a bondsman. Wagner said in an April hearing that he had received no evidence on Abid's immigration status or the likelihood of deportation.

Wagner said he would hold another bond hearing and hear the evidence.

"We can do that as of next week if defense wishes to where we can address issues of his return to court each and every time and safety issues, issues regarding whether he could be deported or not, issues that the court would like to hear," Wagner said in April.

Abid did not request a new bail bonds hearing, instead he filed the appeal. Abid contended that the judge unconstitionally denied him bail.

"We cannot say that the trial court abused its broad discretion by requiring in this case that a licensed bond company, with means and incentive to ensure Abid's attendance at future proceedings, post bond on his behalf," according to the appeals court ruling.

The appellate judges said they trusted Wagner to hold a hearing "in an expedited fashion and issue a prompt decision" concerning conditions of release. The appeals court said Wagner had proven willing to conduct multiple hearings on short notice and that the delay since then was due to Abid appealing.

"It would be premature for this court to usurp the trial court's function and establish conditions of release in the trial court's place," according to the ruling.

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