A Saudi national charged for the Warrensburg murder of Blaine Whitworth was just released from a Missouri jail where he has been held since the September 2012 slaying of the 25-year-old local bar owner.
Ziyad Abid, 24, was in the Warrensburg area on a student visa and, like a few of his infamous Saudi compatriots, also had a fascination with flying -- he was studying aviation at the University of Central Missouri so he too could become a pilot.
Accused of hiring hitman Reginald Singletary to shoot Whitworth to death in front of his home last year, inmate Abid's sudden release from jail yesterday follows on the heels of an equally surprising visit to Warrensburg, MO by Barack Obama at the tail end of July.
Shortly thereafter prosecutors mysteriously dropped all charges against Abid, in a carefully worded statement declaring that "our understanding of evidence previously obtained from a critical witness has changed. As a result, the state is currently left without sufficient evidence to support the prosecution at this time."
No further details were provided by officials and phone calls requesting legal clarification were not returned.
The Warrensburg murder first made national headlines when Saudi-born suspect Abid was denied bail. Then, when finally granted it on appeal, the $2-million bond was paid for by his country via a wire transfer and that payment swiftly rejected by the judge.
In its refusal, the court stated it was concerned about the source of the money and understandably viewed the foreign defendant as a probable flight risk.
Ziyad Abid's case, particularly the secretive nature of his absolution from charges of premeditated homicide, mirrors the events that took place in the immediate aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing this past spring.
In that controversy, Abdul Rahman Ali Alharbi, a Saudi national in his twenties, was sought and detained by police for his role in the terror plot, only to be quietly released from custody days after amid public protest and hazy assertions of his 'innocence.'
Alharbi has close familial ties with a number of well known Saudi terrorists; it is believed he's since fled the United States for his homeland and affluent tribe.
The American government's dubious relationship with Saudi Arabia, and its frequent intervention on behalf of that oil-rich kingdom's nationals who stand accused of committing heinous crimes on our shores, has justifiably fallen under scrutiny since 9/11.
After all, almost every single one of the hijackers responsible for that unprecedented terrorist attack in 2001 were Saudi citizens. None were actually from later-bombed Afghanistan or Iraq.
And, just like Ziyad Abid, these wealthy young Saudis were all here on student visas too, learning how to navigate big planes into tall buildings.
The current whereabouts of aviator Abid remains unknown today...