The former Capitol Hill resident suspected in the New Year’s arson at Neighbours nightclub pleaded not guilty to the charges during his arraignment Tuesday morning in King County Court. Musab Musmari, 30, is being held in the King County Jail. A hearing in the case has been set for March 5th. Musmari was also ordered to have no contact with Neighbours or its employees.
A judge had previously set Musmari’s bail at $1 million after prosecutors said he posed a flight risk. Musmari was found with a one-way ticket to Turkey and two passports when police arrested him in January. Musmari also has several other ongoing cases unrelated to the incident at Neighbours.
Earlier, CHS documented Musmari’s increased brushes with the law in the past year on Capitol Hill including assaults and protection order violations. In a recent conviction and sentence that he is appealing, Musmari was required to undergo a mental health evaluation.
As more than 700 revelers celebrated the first minutes of 2014, flames shot up inside the popular gay nightclub before being doused by a quick acting Neighbours employee and patron.
On Monday, KIRO reported that prosecutors may have a case to charge Musmari with a hate crime. According to documents obtained by KIRO, a “confidential informant” told investigators Musmari said homosexuals should be “exterminated”:
According to the documents, Masmari first met the informant at Fatima’s Cafe near the Masjid at Taqwa Mosque on Seattle’s East Union Street, shortly after the fire at Neighbours.
The informant contacted the FBI soon after meeting Masmari because he was “concerned” that Masmari “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.”
The unidentified informant also said that, in the numerous conversations after their first meeting, Masmari often expressed a “distaste for homosexual people,” and that Masmari “opined that homosexuals should be exterminated.”
Check out the rest of the KIRO story here.