UPDATE: Suspect in Aniah Blanchard’s death to face grand jury on capital murder charge

Updated: Jun. 3, 2020 at 2:16 PM EDT
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LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WTVM) - A Lee County judge has determined that there is enough evidence to send the case of a man charged with killing an east Alabama college student to a grand jury on a capital murder charge.

Police believe Ibraheem Yazeed abducted Blanchard from an Auburn gas station and later shot and killed her. Her body was found days later in Macon County, Ala.

Aniah Blanchard
Aniah Blanchard(Central Alabama CrimeStoppers)

Today’s probable cause hearing determined that the District Attorney’s office has enough evidence to try a capital murder case in front of a grand jury.

The court previously found probable cause to send Yazeed’s kidnapping charge to a grand jury.

Blanchard’s family was in tears as a detective described how the East Alabama college student was killed last fall.

“At the top of the skull, there was a bullet hole,” Detective Josh Mixon said.

Yazeed is facing multiple charges for what police believe is his role in Blanchard’s death.

“He’s charged with murder during a kidnapping, as well murder while shooting into an occupied vehicle,” Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes said. “A judge found probable cause for both, and I think that speaks for itself."

According to testimony Wednesday, Blanchard’s roommate received texts the night Blanchard went missing.

“At 11:38, Aniah says, ‘I’m smoking a blunt. Laugh out loud,’” Mixon testified. “At 11:40, her roommate says, ‘Who are you smoking with?' Aniah’s device replies at 11:41, 'Eric.’"

Mixon testified video at a second gas station showed Yazeed leaving the passenger seat of Blanchard’s car to purchase smoking materials then getting back inside the car.

This car was later found in Montgomery.

Court testimony Wednesday revealed a witness said he was with Yazeed when it appeared he dumped a body in Shorter, Alabama.

“Squirmy tells Yazeed, ‘Tell me that’s not a body.’ Yazeed replies, ‘It won’t come back on you or your family,’” Mixon said on the stand.

Remains later found in the area were identified as Blanchard’s.

Yazeed’s attorney argued there’s no evidence a crime was committed in the Lee County jurisdiction and that Blanchard went willingly with Yazeed.

The state argued there’s circumstantial evidence to prove Blanchard was deceived and, by extension, that she was kidnapped.

“The evidence says what the evidence says,” Hughes said. “The law says what the law says. We established that today.”

Last week, Yazeed appeared before a judge on charges of assaulting an officer after allegedly biting a correctional officer at the Lee County Jail in March. That case was also sent to a grand jury.

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