Petition started after Aniah Blanchard’s disappearance for violent offenders to not have bond

Updated: Nov. 11, 2019 at 7:19 PM EST
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AUBURN, Ala. (WTVM) - After Aniah Blanchard’s disappearance, a petition is circulating that, in part, calls for violent offenders to not have an option to bond out and to remain in custody until a verdict is reached.

The petition is now reaching tens of thousands of signatures.

Auburn police believe 30-year-old Ibraheem Yazeed took the teen against her will from a convenience store October 23. Yazeed now sits in the Lee County jail with no bond on kidnapping charges.

Prior to his current arrest, Yazeed was out on bond for other charges, including attempted murder.

Much of the community is outraged that someone with violent crime charges was out of jail.

“He should not have been walking free,” said Clinton Lothrop, a man who signed the petition.

Now, a petition is circulating that calls to prevent this from happening in the future.

The petition reads in part: “Repeat violent offenders should not have an option for bond, if someone is a suspect in a violent case, and has been arrested for a charge that deals with a violent case, the suspect should remain in custody until a verdict is read on the case.”

Almost 30,000 people have signed it so far, including Blanchard’s mother.

Attorney Barbi Agricola said it’s a complicated matter.

“We kind of already have that ability now," she said. "The courts have that ability.”

She said judges can make the determination during a hearing whether to allow someone out on bond. One thing assessed is if the defendant is convicted of a crime.

According to Agricola, Yazeed was charged but not convicted with violent offenses, so this petition wouldn’t have affected him.

“This petition seeks for it to be a rule instead of it being discretionary," Agricola said. This means instead of a judge deciding to allow someone out on bond, a violent offender convicted a crime already would immediately stay in custody.

"I don’t think that would be a problem at all and I certainly would support a petition like that,” she said.

There is a gag order on this case, meaning attorneys are not allowed to talk about the case and media is not allowed in the courtroom.

According to Agricola, gag orders are very rare, especially around here.

She said there are typically good reasons why they’re issued and why information is kept from the public, like protecting the quality of an investigation or ensuring a fair trial.

“In a case like this, it could be to allow law enforcement and the prosecutor’s office to get more information, more evidence,” she said. “It could be a variety of things.”

Yazeed, from Montgomery, was first arrested near Pensacola, Florida late Thursday night. He was then extradited to Alabama the next day.

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