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Suspect in Aniah Blanchard’s murder to appear before grand jury for assault of an officer

Updated: May. 27, 2020 at 9:02 PM EDT
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OPELIKA, Ala. (WTVM) - The man police believe is responsible for the death of 19-year-old college student Aniah Blanchard last fall is currently awaiting trial for kidnapping and murder charges.

Wednesday, Ibraheem Yazeed appeared before a judge for a preliminary hearing after he allegedly bit a corrections officer.

A Lee County judge determined there is enough evidence for this case to continue. Yazeed is currently charged with second-degree assault and sits in the Lee County jail with no bond.

According to court testimony, Yazeed refused to go into his cell. After officers warned him verbally, they tased him, struck him with batons, and pepper sprayed him. Still resisting officers, officials said Yazeed fought back.

“The evidence was there was a photograph shown today where Mr. Yazeed bit a corrections officer on the leg,” said Lee Co. District Attorney Brandon Hughes.

Lee County Judge Steven Speakman determined there is enough evidence for this case to move forward.

“Based on the wording of the statute and the photograph, which speaks for itself, I do find there is probably cause in this matter,” the judge said. “I’ll bind it over to circuit court for further action by a Lee County grand jury.”

Yazeed is also facing capital murder and kidnapping charges for the death of Aniah Blanchard. Police said he abducted the 19-year-old East Alabama college student from a gas station in Auburn last October and later shot and killed her.

In Wednesday’s preliminary hearing--unrelated to the case involving Blanchard--Yazeed’s attorney argued that biting the officer was in self defense.

“There are three officers there hitting him with sticks, and electrocuting him, and shooting him with pepper spray,” he said. “If anything, he defended himself.”

Hughes disagreed, saying the officers were doing their jobs.

“Folks just don’t understand how dangerous it is to work in a jail or prison,” he said. “All they’re trying to get is get these folks from one place to another. This is just a snapshot of how dangerous that job is.”

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