Well-known social media stars often become role models, admired and looked up to as something to aspire to. They have wealth, popularity, and a lifestyle that seems enviable to many. But often the personality showcased on TikTok, Twitch, or Instagram is not an accurate reflection of who the person really is, and followers can be taken by surprise when the truth comes out. Usually, the questionable behavior involves cheating in games, racism or sexism, or domestic abuse. Occasionally, it goes even further.
Ali Nasser Abulaban, a 29-year-old going by the online name of JinnKid, could be considered a fairly successful social media star, with over a million combined followers on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. A self-proclaimed comedian and impersonator, Abulaban recently became known for making a viral TikTok video series called “Skyrim in Real Life,” in which he enacted how typical Skyrim NPC behaviors would look if they happened in real life. Unfortunately, behind the comedic exterior lay a much more volatile personality.
Abulaban had moved out of the apartment that he shared with his wife Ana, 28, on October 18 and checked into a motel in Mission Beach, a community of San Diego, California. Three days later, on the afternoon of Thursday, October 21, Abulaban went to the apartment of his estranged wife and trashed it, and then installed an app on his 5-year-old daughter’s iPad that would allow him to listen to activity in the home. A few hours after leaving, Abulaban returned to the apartment with a loaded gun. In the living room, he allegedly shot Ana once in the forehead and her friend Rayburn Barron, 29, in the neck, cheek, and back of the head. Neither survived the attack.
After the shooting, Abulaban picked his daughter up from school and told her that he had “hurt Mommy.” The TikTok personality then also called his mother and confessed. Just after 3 pm, while still driving with his daughter, he called the police to admit to his crimes and was arrested 45 minutes later on State Route 15. Even had he not confessed, a security camera captured Abulaban running from an elevator to Ana’s apartment on the day of the murders, and a neighbor’s Nest camera recorded him leaving.
Just weeks before her death, Ana had accused her husband of domestic violence and was taking steps to divorce him, but a restraining order had not yet been filed. Though Abulaban had left the San Diego apartment to go to a motel, he’d first made a copy of the key. After installing the listening app on his daughter’s iPad, Abulaban reportedly heard Ana and Rayburn Barron talking and laughing, which spurred him into returning to the apartment in the belief that his wife was cheating. However, according to Deputy District Attorney Taren Brast, the two were just friends.
confessing to the crimes to both his daughter and mother, Abulaban pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder during his arraignment in San Diego Superior Court on October 25. If convicted, he could face the death penalty. He is being held without bail, and a preliminary hearing is set for January 5, 2022.
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Sources: NBC San Diego, Los Angeles Times
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