Monday, May 05, 2014

Seattle: Muslim pleads guilty to New Year’s Day arson of packed gay nightclub

A Muslim – who told a friend “that homosexuals should be exterminated” – attempted to exterminate 750+ people in a jam packed gay nightclub and the prosecutors let him off with 5 years prison?  via Man pleads guilty to setting fire at Capitol Hill club on New Year’s Day | KOMO News. (KOMO doesn’t identify him as Muslim or the club as gay) h/t WildNinja
SEATTLE — A former Bellevue resident who federal prosecutors say set fire to a packed Seattle nightclub just after midnight on New Year’s Day pleaded guilty Friday to a count of arson, U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said.
Masmari carried a one gallon tank of gas hidden in a shopping bag into the Neighbours club in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood around 11:30 p.m. as 750 partygoers were inside, according to prosecutors. Then just after midnight, Masmari poured some of the gasoline on a carpeted staircase inside the club and hid the gas container behind a planter at the top of the stairs.
The container was still more than half full of gasoline, prosecutors said.
Moments later, Masmari lit the gas on the stairs and ran off from the club, prosecutors said. A U.S. Army staff sergeant and an Air Force member quickly put out the fire before it spread. The club’s sprinkler system activated, and no one was hurt.

Investigators identified Masmari from surveillance videos and he was arrested on Feb. 1 as he was getting ready to head to Sea-Tac Airport and board a flight out of the country.
Under the terms of a plea agreement, prosecutors and Masmari’s defense agreed to recommend a 5-year prison term with 5 years supervised release when Masmari is sentenced on July 31. However the judge is not bound by their recommendations and could sentence Masmari to up to 20 years in jail, prosecutors said.
“This defendant violated people’s right to gather safely: he put more than 700 lives at risk when he purposely started a fire at a crowded nightclub on New Year’s Eve,” Durkan said in a press release. “Thankfully, the staff and patrons at Neighbours moved quickly to evacuate the club and extinguish the flames.”
Will the judge rectify the prosecutors error? More: Man pleads guilty to arson at Seattle gay nightclub
A man accused of setting a fire inside a crowded Capitol Hill gay nightclub on New Year’s Eve pleaded guilty to arson this afternoon in U.S. District Court in Seattle.
Musab Mohammed Masmari, 30, was charged in a felony information in federal court yesterday after previously having been charged with first-degree arson in King County Superior Court.
He signed a plea agreement in which federal prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed to recommend a prison sentence of five years, although the maximum penalty is 20 years. Sentencing is scheduled for July 31.
The federal takeover of the case lends weight to allegations that Musmari’s crime is terrorism- or hate-related. The case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Greenberg, who supervises the Joint Terrorism Task Force. He said the motive for the arson will be addressed at Musmari’s sentencing.
A friend of Musmari contacted the FBI in early January to say that he was concerned that Musmari “may be planning some terrorist activity,” according to search-warrant documents filed earlier in King County Superior Court. The friend, who was not identified by authorities, worked as a confidential informant for the FBI and Seattle police after the fire, the documents say.
The friend also told investigators that Musmari, on a number of occasions, expressed his “distaste for homosexual people” and thought they “should be exterminated,” the documents said.
Police say that Musmari avoided a security check at Neighbours by entering an adjacent bar called Therapy Lounge. He then passed through an interior door between the bars into the two-floor dance club and was seen on surveillance footage walking around with an object that appeared large enough to contain a 1-gallon gas can, according to the state charging documents.
Musmari allegedly fled the club within seconds of flames first appearing on the footage, the papers say. Club patrons and a bartender quickly doused the blaze with a fire extinguisher.
There were more than 750 people inside the club that night, authorities said.
Police released grainy surveillance photos of the suspect in January, and several people called in tips to police, including the friend named in the warrant, according to information presented in the arson case.
Days before his arrest on Feb. 1, Musmari — who also goes by the surnames Masmari and Al Masmari — booked a one-way flight to Turkey. He was arrested as he was preparing to leave for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, police said.
Musmari was born in California, but his family returned to Libya when he was an infant; he came back to the United States permanently in 2009, according to charging paperwork filed in the arson case.
Why was the attempted mass murder of 750 gays on New Year’s Day not a national, if not worldwide, story?
Backstory completely ignored by national media here.
Also note that the feds took over this case but refused to take the jihad attack on the Arkansas military recruiting center that killed one soldier and wounded another.

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