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The suspect accused of murdering 19-year-old Alabama college student Aniah Blanchard three years ago was indicted on three counts of capital murder, prosecutors said.
The ruling comes after Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office presented evidence to a Macon County grand jury on Nov. 4. He was specifically charged with first-degree capital murder during a kidnapping, first-degree capital murder during robbery and one count of capital murder involving a victim in a vehicle.
Prosecutors say Yazeed fatally shot Blanchard in the course of kidnapping and robbing her in October 2019.
“The indictment charges Yazeed did intentionally cause the death of Blanchard by shooting her with a gun during the course of abducting her and robbing her of a vehicle and cell phone,” a Nov. 15 Alabama Attorney General’s Office press release stated. “The indictment also charges Yazeed intentionally caused Blanchard’s death while she was inside her vehicle, a 2017 Honda CR-V."
Blanchard was last seen alive on Oct. 23, 2019 at a convenience store in Auburn, Alabama. Her car was later found abandoned at a Montgomery apartment building, Auburn Police Department said at the time. Blanchard’s remains were discovered on Nov. 25, 2019 in a wooded area of Macon County in Shorter, Alabama. An autopsy revealed the 19-year-old had been shot. Her death was ruled a homicide.
Yazeed was arrested by members of the US Marshals Fugitive Task Force and Florida sheriffs in Pensacola, Florida in connection with the case Nov. 7, 2019, and was initially charged with capital murder. He’s currently being held without bond at a Lee County detention center, according to online jail records obtained by Oxygen.com.
In 2019, Blanchard’s family begged the public for any information related to the 19-year-old’s disappearance prior to her remains being discovered. Loved ones then-said that Blanchard had sent Snapchat messages to a friend around the time of her disappearance, suggesting that she was with a man she’d recently met.
“We don’t know who he is,” her mother, Angela Harris, told Nancy Grace in 2019. “This is why this is so hard — we have nothing to go on. We have no idea who this person is. We don’t even know if it was Aniah making those Snapchat text messages to her roommate.”
Blanchard was the stepdaughter of UFC heavyweight fighter Walt Harris. As authorities scrambled to locate Blanchard, UFC President Dana White previously announced a $25,000 reward for information related to Blanchard’s whereabouts. Alabama’s Governor Kay Ivey also issued a $5,000 reward.
“I am heartbroken for the family of Aniah Blanchard,” Alabama Governor Kay Ivey said in 2019 following the identification of Blanchard’s remains. “She is indeed loved and will be remembered by us all."
Yazeed has an extensive arrest record. Prior to being taken into custody in connection with Blanchard’s slaying, he had been arrested at least 26 times.
Yazeed’s defense attorney, William Whatley, didn’t respond to Oxygen.com’s request for comment on Wednesday morning.
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