The mother of an Alabama teen who was allegedly killed by a man out on bail for attempted murder is pushing for bail reform which she believes would have prevented her daughter’s slaying.
AL.com reported that Aniah Blanchard’s mother, Angela Harris, spoke at a news conference at the Alabama State House amid talks of a proposed constitutional amendment that would implement exceptions to the right to bail under the state’s constitution. The bill’s sponsor, Representative Chip Brown, explained that under current law, defendants have a right to bail unless they are charged with capital murder.
“I know Aniah is looking down and she’s very proud right now that people are fighting and they’re going to continue to fight for her,” Harris said. “And through this law, she can fight. So, I’m just asking everybody to get on board with this. Help this bill be passed.”
Blanchard, 19, had vanished from an Auburn convenience store on October 23. Murder suspect Ibraheem Yazeed, 30, was reportedly at the store, and a witness claimed to have seen him force the teen into her car.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Blanchard’s body was discovered on November 25 in a wooded area off Highway 80 in Macon County. Authorities said Blanchard was fatally shot, and that she attempted to take a gun from Yazeed during her kidnapping.
At the time of Blanchard’s abduction, Yazeed was out on bail on attempted murder charges — despite having a lengthy criminal history which includes arrests for kidnapping and robbery.
Yazeed is charged with capital murder in Blanchard’s shooting death. Prosecutors said they plan to seek the death kidnapping in this case.
Kidnapping charges against the second suspect, Antwon Fisher, 35, were dropped in mid-December. Fisher — who had been accused of providing transportation to Yazeed — has a 2005 felony murder conviction for fatally shooting a woman during a drug deal in Montgomery.
“Crime Stories With Nancy Grace” host Nancy Grace has covered Blanchard’s disappearance on the Sirius XM radio show, and has also spoken at length about bail reform. Earlier this month, she told Fox News that New York City’s new bail standards will give unnecessary special treatment to possibly-violent criminals.
“Criminals and defense attorneys are dancing in the halls today because this is a get-out-of-jail-free pass, and I don’t think the public understands what has happened,” Grace said.
“You can sell a bag full of cocaine and you basically get a ticket and walk out. Kick somebody’s door in [and] go in and steal from them. They will be let out that day with a gift bag.”
As of January 1, New York judges will not require cash bail for most misdemeanors and non-violent felonies. In November, a law enforcement source told WCBS that New York City residents facing criminal charges will be given incentives to show up to court — in the form of Mets baseball tickets, a subway pass or a Dunkin’ Donuts gift card.
Grace says there is already a solution that can reduce New York’s jail population.
“It’s called a demand for [a] speedy trial.”
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[Featured image: Aniah Blanchard/Facebook; Ibraheem Yazeed/Montgomery County Detention Facility]