Alabama senator sponsoring bill to deny bail for most serious charges after death of college student

Published 10:48 am Thursday, January 16, 2020

An Alabama state senator announced plans to file a bill to revoke bond for more offenses in the wake of the death of a UFC heavyweight fighter’s stepdaughter.

The proposal was inspired by the case of college student Aniah Blanchard, Sen. Cam Ward said Tuesday at a news conference in Montgomery, news outlets reported.

Ibraheem Yazeed, 29, was out on bond for kidnapping and attempted murder charges at the time of Blachard’s death. He had been given the maximum bond on the state’s bail schedule, news outlets reported.

Remains identified as Blanchard, 19, were found in November after her disappearance the month before. She was the stepdaughter of UFC fighter Walt Harris. Yazeed has been charged with capital murder in her death.

Ward’s proposal would allow bail to be denied for charges of murder, first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy, kidnapping, sex abuse, sexual torture and human trafficking.

Defense attorneys told news outlets Ward’s proposal would likely be challenged in court if passed because the Eighth Amendment prohibits judges from setting exceptionally high bail amounts.

“The courts are there to protect the rights of the people accused of committing crimes,” defense attorney Andrew Skier said. “In the past the courts have protected those rights and I expect that will continue.”