OPELIKA, Ala. (WRBL) – The capital murder case against Ibraheem Yazeed is heading to a grand jury after a Lee County judge decided prosecutors have enough evidence he kidnapped, then shot and killed Aniah Blanchard in her vehicle last October.
Based on the testimony of an Auburn investigator, prosecutors have shifted their original narrative of what led to Blanchard’s kidnapping.
Now it appears investigators believe Aniah Blanchard and her suspected killer left an Auburn Chevron together, then stopped at another gas station down the road, where Yazeed got out and purchased a cigarette or Cigar while Blanchard apparently remained in the vehicle in the drivers seat.
Based on a text message from Blanchard’s phone to her roommate she was on her way home – but she was smoking a blunt with a man she had just met – the message identified as Eric. At some point, prosecutors believe Yazeed kidnapped Blanchard, then shot and killed her, based on blood evidence found inside her vehicle and bullet fragments that were located in her SUV.
“This is a tough case, I can’t imagine what her family is going through. Murder cases are ugly. You have to talk about these things. You have to talk about these things in somewhat of a dispassionate way. Things come out, I’ve advised the family along the way, every step of the way about what’s going on. Nothing that they’ve heard today was a surprise, because I’ve kept them informed because they have a right to know.” said Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes.
Investigators say a witness told them he saw Yazeed drag what appeared to be a body, wrapped in a comforter, out of a truck near the location in Macon County where Blanchard’s remains were found, with a bullet wound to her skull and a projectile located in the ground.
The witness told police when he asked Yazeed if that was a body Yazeed told him yes, but it won’t come back on you or your family. Meanwhile, the graphic testimony regarding the discovery of Blanchard’s remains caused her parents to break down in court.
The defense says prosecutors can’t prove Blanchard was kidnapped or killed in the Lee County area, and asked a judge to not find probable cause. The judge disagreed, and now the case will be heard by a grand jury for them to consider indictments.
Yazeed remains in custody at the Lee County Justice Center on no bond.
Stay with News 3 while we keep you updated as the case moves forward.