Local leaders weigh in on proposed bill inspired by Aniah Blanchard to revoke bond for violent offenses

Mobile County

MOBILE COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — Months after 19-year-old Aniah Blanchard was abducted outside a convenience store in Auburn and found dead in the woods in Macon County, one Alabama lawmaker is proposing a constitutional amendment to reform the state’s bail system.

State Senator Cam Ward is the one proposing this bill, but this is something local leaders have been pushing for quite some time. You may remember, a year ago, Mobile Public Safety Director James Barber brought a similar bill to Montgomery.

“I hate what happened to Aniah Blanchard, but she is the poster child of why this is necessary,” said Barber.

For months, all eyes were on Alabama as the nation watched search efforts in hopes to find this bubbly face alive and reunited with her family.

Through investigation, we learned that Blanchard’s accused killer, Ibraheem Yazeed was out on bond for another case involving kidnapping and attempted murder.

“What happened to her should not have happened. That maniac should have been held without bail until trial and tried on that original case instead of released only to complete the murder the second time,” said Barber.

Senator Cam Ward of Alabaster wants to make bond revocation mandatory. Denying a bond for people who have been arrested for certain crimes: murder, first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy, sexual abuse, sexual torture or human trafficking.

Slightly different from what Barber proposed a year ago.

“They should be denied bail until trial,” said Barber.

But it holds the same weight in efforts to crack down on the revolving door of violent offenders committing new crimes while out on bond.

“We are trying to deal with 21st-century threats with a 1901 constitution and times have changed. The dangers have changed, weapons have changed. In order for us to protect people, we should have our day in court so we can show the possibilities of likely to re-offend,” said Barber.

District Attorney Ashley Rich said this fight for change makes her proud.

“It speaks loud and clear that they’ve had enough. If they’re on bond and the commit a new crime or offense to revoke their bond and give them bond on a new case and I’m proud of this,” said Rich.

Ward said he plans to file his bill when lawmakers go into session next month, on February 4th. Barber said he believes that this time the bill will have major support to push it forward.

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