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Judge drops charge against 2nd man in Aniah Blanchard case

OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama judge dismissed a kidnapping charge Tuesday against one of the three men arrested in the disappearance of 19-year-old Aniah Blanchard, who was later found slain.

Lee County Judge Russell Bush dismissed a kidnapping charge against Antwain Shamar Fisher, 35, of Montgomery, after the county’s assistant district attorney, Garrett Saucer, filed a motion to dismiss.

Fisher was one of three people arrested earlier in the death of Blanchard, an Alabama college student and the stepdaughter of UFC heavyweight Walt Harris.

Blanchard was last seen Oct. 23 at a gas station in Auburn, Alabama. Her black Honda CRV was found abandoned days later more than 50 miles (90 kilometers) away at an apartment complex in Montgomery and her remains were found weeks later in a wooded area.

“The investigation has since revealed that Fisher was not present during the commission of the principal offense,” according to the motion as reported by the Opelika-Auburn News.

After Fisher’s arrest “”it was determined that Mr. Fisher’s conduct did not rise to the level of accomplice liability as was originally charged and as is required under Alabama law,” said Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes. “Therefore, based on legal and jurisdictional grounds, we have requested Mr. Fisher’s charge for Kidnapping First Degree be dismissed.”

Fisher had been scheduled to appear in Lee County court Wednesday but the hearing was canceled, the newspaper reported.

Fisher’s attorney, Andrew Stanley, was not immediately available for comment Tuesday. A telephone call by The Associated Press to his law office was not answered.

Ibraheem Yazeed, 29, of Montgomery, was charged with capital murder-kidnapping, after Blanchard’s remains were discovered and identified. County District Attorney Brandon Hughes said the medical examiner determined Blanchard died from a gunshot wound.

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Yazeed is being held at the Lee County Jail without bond. Prosecutors have indicated they will seek the death penalty if Yazeed is convicted.

David Lee Johnson Jr., 63, is charged with hindering prosecution. He’s accused of lying to police about who took Yazeed to Florida to escape.

A memorial service for Blanchard is scheduled noon Saturday at Faith Chapel Christian Center in Birmingham.

An announcement posted on the church’s Facebook page says the event is open to the public.

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