Ibraheem Yazeed, the man accused of murdering Aniah Blanchard, stepdaughter of UFC heavyweight Walt Harris, has been charged with three counts of capital murder.
Yazeed could face the death penalty or life without parole should he be convicted of any of the three charges – first-degree kidnapping, first-degree murder during robbery, and first-degree murder involving a vehicle.
“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,” the attorney general’s office said in a written release. “The indictment also charges Yazeed intentionally caused Blanchard’s death while she was inside her vehicle, a 2017 Honda CR-V.”
The attorney general’s office did not release any further details. Since his arrest in November 2019, Yazeed has been held in Lee County jail without bail.
Just prior to Yazeed’s arrest, Blanchard was reported missing on Oct. 24. The MMA community heavily rallied around the efforts in support of Harris. A month’s long search ended with her body found in a wooded area on Nov. 25. Blanchard, a college student, was 19 at the time of her death.
The local district attorney’s office alleges Yazeed kidnapped Blanchard in her own car outside of a gas staton. A second gas station’s surveillance camera captured Yazeed as he got out of the passenger side door of Blanchard’s car, then returned.
According to court documents, an unidentified person informed police Yazeed admitted to the murder and said Blanchard “went for the gun.” At the time of his arrest, Yazeed was out on bail for other charges of attempted murder, kidnapping, robbery, and possession of marijuana.
Eight months after his arrest, Yazeed was charged with another murder, the 2018 cold case killing of 29-year-old Stephen Hamby.
After their daughter’s death, Harris and wife Angela Haley-Harris kickstarted with lawmakers an amendment proposal called “Aniah’s Law.” The amendment added charges for which suspects ca not be bailed out.
On Nov. 8, Alabama voters passed the amendment into law with 80 percent supporting.
“Thank you Alabama!!” Haley-Harris wrote on Facebook after the amendment passed. “And congrats you just changed our state for the better!! I am so emotional for so many reasons!! It’s hard to explain how I feel right now!!! Hopefully I will have my thoughts together in the morning! But for now!! Effective immediately!!”