Ali Abulaban: TikTok star planted spying app on daughter's iPad before shooting wife
After the shootings, Ali Abulaban, still armed, picked up his daughter from school
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA: A TikTok star with nearly a million online followers pleaded not guilty on Monday, October 25, to shooting and killing his estranged wife and a man she was with. The shooting happened just before 3 pm on Thursday, October 21, in the woman’s apartment on the 35th floor of the Spire San Diego high-rise, on Island Avenue in East Village.
Prosecutors said Ali Abulaban had installed a listening device on his five-year-old daughter’s tablet, and when he heard his wife and another man talking, he went to her apartment and shot them to death. Police identified the victims as Ana Abulaban, 28, of San Diego, and Rayburn Cadenas Barron, 29, of National City. After the shootings, the TikToker, still armed, picked up his daughter from school, Deputy District Attorney Taren Brast said.
Brast said outside court that Abulaban, 29, is a TikTok star known as JinnKid, with more than 940,000 followers on the social media app. His account reportedly features comedy skits and impersonations of the character Tony Montana from the 1983 film ‘Scarface’. A Virginia native, Abulaban was a singer and as per reports, he started his music career at the age of 14. Later, he became a TikTok star and focused on celebrity voice impressions. He has also reportedly starred in short films inspired by the film ‘Scarface’.
As per the San Diego Union-Tribune, the charges, and special allegations -- he was charged with two counts of murder as well as special-circumstance allegations of multiple killings -- allow prosecutors to pursue the death penalty if Abulaban is convicted. The District Attorney’s Office has not announced whether it plans to seek the death penalty or life in prison without parole if the defendant is found guilty.
As per the Associated Press, close to two dozen family members and friends of the two victims packed the courtroom. Several of them sobbed as Brast shared details about the killings. Brast said Abulaban confessed to detectives and accused his wife of cheating, although the prosecutor said she believes Barron was a friend. According to Brast, Ana had asked her husband to move out on October 18. Subsequently, Abulaban checked into a hotel. Three days later, Brast said, he sneaked back into the apartment and trashed it while his wife was gone. He also installed the listening app on his daughter’s iPad.
Hours later, when Abulaban was listening to the app, he heard his wife and a man talking and giggling. Following that, he raced back to the high-rise, prosecutors said. Security camera video also showed him running out of the elevator to the apartment. Brast said Abulaban shot Barron three times before shooting his wife in her head. Abulaban then called his mother and confessed, Brast said.
According to Brast, Abulaban has a history of domestic violence. His wife called the police last month and reported that her husband had pushed her, causing minor injuries. She planned to file a restraining order.
After he picked up his daughter, he called the police while driving and they arrested him 45 minutes later. His daughter was in the vehicle. Judge Kimberlee Lagotta, who ordered Abulaban be jailed without bail, also issued a protective order that requires Abulaban to stay away from his daughter, who is being cared for by family.