The man alleged to have kidnapped and shot Aniah Blanchard will face the death penalty for her murder, Lee County, Alabama District Attorney Brandon Hughes has announced.
Ibraheem Yazeed, 29, was free on $295,000 bond for counts of kidnapping, attempted murder, robbery and possession of marijuana when he allegedly abducted and murdered Aniah Blanchard. Blanchard, a college student in Alabama and stepdaughter of UFC heavyweight Walt Harris, went missing on October 23, 2019. Her disappearance led to a trio of arrests, and the discovery of human remains that were later identified as the 19-year-old.
On Monday, Lee County (Alabama) District Attorney Brandon Hughes confirmed at a press conference that he would seek the death penalty against Yazeed.
Hughes also revealed that following an autopsy, Blanchard’s cause of death was determined to be a gunshot. Police had said prior to the recovery of Blanchard’s body that the college student had lost a life-threatening amount of blood, based on forensic evidence found in her abandoned vehicle.
“There was an autopsy done,” Hughes said (via MMA Junkie). “The medical examiner ruled that Aniah Blanchard was killed in the manner of homicide. The cause of death was a gunshot wound.”
Noting that the case had “shaken our community to its core,” Hughes added that “It is my intention that the response to this horrific crime be a warning to anyone, anyone who believes they want to come to Lee County and engage in violent criminal behavior. They will certainly be dealt with, and the consequences will be severe.”
Three men have been charged in relation to Blanchard’s case, although authorities believe Yazeed acted alone in her abduction and murder. However, Antwain “Squirmy” Fisher, 35, and David Lee Johnson Jr., 63, are both facing additional charges. Fisher was charged with first-degree kidnapping, though an affidavit revealed that was in relation to the disposal of evidence, and providing transportation for Yazeed. Johnson Jr., meanwhile, has been charged with hindering prosecution.