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Preliminary hearing held for TikTok creator accused of double murder

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Posted at 12:14 AM, Jan 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-08 17:44:03-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Friday, a preliminary hearing was held revealing chilling, new details in the double homicide case against well-known TikTok creator, 29-year-old Ali Abulaban.

Abulaban is accused of fatally shooting his estranged wife, 28-year-old Ana Abulaban, and her friend, 29-year-old Rayburn Barron, at the couple's high-rise apartment in East Village last October.

Abulaban was visibly emotional and overcome with remorse as SDPD detective Sgt. Christopher Leahy testified about the case.

Leahy said a neighbor's Nest camera showed the hallway of the couple's apartment on the high rise's 35th floor, while the building's surveillance cameras captured the lobby.

On October 21, 2021, Leahy said video shows Ana and Barron entering the apartment at 2 p.m. An hour later, Abulaban is seen on video arriving at the apartment. Then, he said he heard screaming and six "deliberate" gunshots.

"I could hear a screaming voice that was consistent of Ali Abulaban based on my personal interaction with him in the interview room saying Ana! Ana! Ana!" said Leahy on the stand.

The detective said Abulaban could also be heard saying he shot Ana in a phone call to his mom shortly after the shooting.

He called 911 around 3 p.m. and said he found his wife and a man shot to death in his apartment.

Abulaban was later arrested on the 805 freeway.

During the hearing, the prosecution revealed the couple's history of domestic violence and said that's partly why Ana wanted to end the marriage.

Leahy testified Ana and Abulaban met in 2014 in Okinawa, Japan, while he was enlisted in the Air Force.

The detective said there was an incident several years ago in which Abulaban had a physical fight with Ana and other people at a bar.

"It was an incident in which resulted in the defendant being other than honorable discharged from the Air Force," said Leahy.

The couple moved to San Diego in February of 2021. Leahy said Ana wanted to be closer to her friends.

"In addition to some social media notoriety that your [Abulaban's defense attorney] client had gained that they thought it was going to be a good idea to move to San Diego," said Leahy.

Through his comedy skits and Scarface impersonations, Abulaban gained nearly 1 million followers on TikTok. Some of his videos included Ana.

But, prosecutors said Ana wanted to leave the relationship.

Days before the shooting, Ali moved out of their apartment.

The morning of Oct. 21, Abulaban returned to the apartment and installed a recording app on his daughter's iPad.

Abulaban said he overheard his wife and Barron "giggling."

Leahy said Abulaban went back to the apartment and allegedly shot Ana and Barron.

Leahy also testified that nine prior calls for service were made to the couple's apartment prior to the shooting.

The preliminary hearing resumes Monday morning.