Musab Musmari won’t face hate crime or terrorism charges for setting a New Year’s Eve fire inside a packed gay nightclub on Capitol Hill, but his motives will be in question when a federal judge sentences the 31-year-old later this summer.
As part of a plea agreement with Musmari (also Masmari), federal prosecutors agreed not file any charges beyond the single count of arson. However, Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Greenberg told CHS that prosecutors would discuss evidence during the sentencing hearing that Musmari targeted Neighbours because of a prejudice against LGBTQ people.
“There are sentencing enhancements for a hate crime motive,” Greenberg said. “Those issues haven’t been ignored.”
Under the plea agreement, Musmari would serve five years in prison followed by five years of federal probation, but the federal judge could increase his prison sentence up to the 20 year maximum, especially if the judge finds evidence to support a hate crime motive.
In February, Musmari pleaded not guilty to arson in King County court, but the case was transferred to federal court earlier this month in order to increase his sentence. Greenberg said the standard maximum for arson in state court is around 27 months; In federal court the minimum is 60 months.
Musmari is scheduled to appear in federal court for sentencing on July 31st.