KC man sentenced to life in prison for bar owner’s death

bbashioum@demo-mo.comJune 20, 2014 

A Kansas City man convicted of murdering a well-liked Sherwood High School graduate has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole this week.

Following a four-day trial last month, a Cass County jury found Reginald Singletary, Jr., 28, guilty in the shooting death of 25-year-old Blaine Whitworth on Sept. 1, 2012.

Whitworth died in the driveway of his Warrensburg home after Singletary fired three shots into his back.

The case was moved to Harrisonville from Warrensburg in Johnson County on a change of venue. Singletary was sentenced in Warrensburg June 16.

Judge Michael Wagner sentenced Singletary to spend the rest of his life at a Department of Corrections facility on the murder charge. Wagner also gave Singletary the maximum sentence allowed, 30 years in prison, for the armed criminal action charge.

Prosecutors in the case described the 2005 Sherwood grad as a hard-working, successful businessman. Whitworth had became a well-known bar owner and community leader in Warrensburg prior to his death.

Investigators say Singletary eventually confessed to killing Whitworth, but had initially made claims that a University of Central Missouri student from Saudi Arabia had paid him to do it.

The case received international spotlight on the small university community when senior international aviation student Ziyad Abid, 24, was charged with the same crimes as Singletary and spent 11 months in the Johnson County Jail before prosecutors dropped the charges against him when a key witness stopped cooperating.

According to the Associated Press, prosecutors offered little evidence of Abid’s involvement other than Singletary’s statement, which defense attorneys claimed he made after being badgered by interrogators into pinning the crime on the Saudi.

Abid remained jailed for some time even though the required $2 million had been posted for his bond by the Saudi government.

Twice, Wagner denied Abid’s release on grounds he could be a flight risk or deported before the trial.

The case took a sudden twist when prosecutors dropped all charges against the Saudi national in August 2013 while Singletary remained in jail.

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