Accused Seattle Gay Club Arsonist Pleads Not Guilty

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Wednesday Feb 19, 2014

The man who is accused of setting a popular Seattle gay club on fire on New Years Eve pleaded not guilty to the charges during his arraignment Tuesday, the Capitol Hill Seattle reports.

Musab Musmari, 30, is being held in King Court Jail on a $1 million bail after prosecutors said he is a flight risk.

When Musmari was arrested last month, police found he was holding a one-way ticket to Turkey and two passports. The suspect has a number of other ongoing cases unrelated to the case regarding the accusations that he set Seattle gay club Neighbours on fire.

Authorities believe Musmari brought a gallon of gasoline to the popular gay club, just after midnight on New Year's Eve. He allegedly covered a set of stairs with the gas and left the canister with the rest of the gas at the top of the steps. He then lit the stairs on fire with 700 attendees in the club.

Neighbours was quickly evacuated and the club's staff, along with two off duty military personnel, who were at the bar, put out the flames.

Prosecutors may be able to charge Musmari with a hate crime. Seattle's KIRO-TV obtained documents that said a "confidential informant" told investigators Musmari said homosexuals should be "exterminated." The documents say that "the informant" met with Musmari shortly after the fire. Soon after the meeting, the informant contacted the FBI because he was "concerned" that Musmari "may be planning some terrorist activity" because he spoke of "something he's planning." The informant told investigators that Masmari told him "he had obtained a rifle."

He added that after he met Musmari, the suspect often talked about his "distaste for homosexual people," and that Masmari "opined that homosexuals should be exterminated."

A hearing for Musmari has been set for March 5. He has been ordered not to have any contact with Neighbours or its employees.


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