Recovery efforts in Lac-Megantic on July 24, 2013.
Credits: STEVENS LEBLANC/QMI AGENCY
A tired and relieved Hanad Mohamed walked out of the Old City Hall jail cells and into the arms of his waiting family.
"It's good to be out," said the 23-year-old as he pulled the hood of his grey sweatshirt over his head and hunkered down for the long walk in front of waiting cameras.
"He is innocent," insisted his father, Abdulkadir Mohamed.
When he was arrested in May for the gunning down of 21-year-old college student Anthony Smith and the attempted murder of Muhammad Khattak, it wasn't front page news. But then that infamous photo surfaced of the shooting victims posing with their arms around Rob Ford.
Police allege Smith and Khattak were members of the Dixon City Bloods, as was a third man in the notorious picture, Monir Kasim.
Kasim, 20, was freed on bail this week after he was arrested in the Project Traveller police raids in June and charged with drug, gang and weapons charges.
Was the photo connected to Smith's slaying? Did he record the damning crack video only to die so someone else could get their hands on the lucrative footage that has yet to surface?
Mohamed wasn't offering any answers after the Crown dropped first-degree murder charges against him. Now facing the lesser charges of accessory after the fact to manslaughter, accessory to discharging a firearm and accessory to aggravated assault, he was freed Wednesday with his father posting $10,000 bail and his uncle, $5,000.
In this convoluted tale, the mysteries abound.
Nisar Hashimi, also originally charged with first-degree murder, was offered an unusual plea deal in June, three months after his surrender. For gunning Smith down in cold blood outside the Loki Lounge on March 28, he was allowed to plead guilty to manslaughter and sentenced to nine years.
Because of the rushed plea, little evidence was presented in open court.
As for his co-accused, recently released court documents reveal that Toronto Police received an anonymous tip in April that led them to order Mohamed's phone records from March 27 to April 8. They showed he contacted Hashimi 23 times before the shooting and placed his cellphone near the nightclub where Smith and Khattak were shot.
A warrant was issued and Mohamed was arrested for first-degree murder at his sister's Fort McMurray, Alta., apartment.
According to a search warrant unsealed by the court, the RCMP were after a black iPhone when they searched the apartment several days later. They seized that cellphone as well as three more mobile phones and a micro SD memory card. Do any of these have the blockbuster footage?
Mohamed's lawyer Fariborz Davoudi laughed when asked if the case has anything to do with the mayor.
"Rob Ford's name hasn't come up," he said. "I have no interest in Rob Ford. I didn't vote for him last time and I'm not going to vote for him next time."
Davoudi said his client is very happy to be released after two months in custody and will defend himself "vigorously" against Crown allegations that he was Hashimi's getaway driver.
Mohamed's father insisted his son has nothing to do with a video or Ford. "Even in his dreams, he's never seen the mayor. How can someone working in a security office in Alberta?" asked the former cab driver who quit his job to support his child.
Under his bail conditions, Mohamed must live with either his father or uncle, remain at home between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. and not contact Khattak or Hashimi.
He returns to court Aug. 30.