Seattle Gay Bar Arsonist Sentenced To Ten Years In Prison
Musab Masmari has been sentenced to ten years in prison by a federal court following his attempt to burn down a Seattle gay bar, Neighbours on January 1.
In a letter to the court, Masmari, 31, explained he’d consumed a bottle of cheap whiskey in the hours before he set the fire. He claims not to remember setting it, though he recognized himself on a surveillance video.
“I do not believe that I am a bad man but when I get drunk I have done bad things,” Masmari said in a letter to the court. “I swear that it is my intent to never drink again.”
Prosecutors offered another motive for the arson – homophobia.
Writing the court, Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Greenberg said evidence suggests Masmari was motivated by an “intolerable hate.”
“One of Masmari’s close associates was interviewed by investigators and reported that Masmari confided in him that he ‘burned a gay club’ and that he did it because ‘what these people are doing is wrong,’” Greenberg said in court papers.
Greenberg said another person close to Masmari said he had a “general hostility towards homosexuality.”
Attorneys for Masmari Charles Swift and Jeffrey Cohen noted that prosecutors were unwilling to try to prove that hate motivated the arson.
Though prosecutors and the defense agreed to request a five-year prison sentence for Masmari, U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez sent a strong message by doubling the term to ten years at Thursday's sentencing hearing.
Regarding his drinking Masmari says,
“I am sorry for the damage I caused, and I am grateful that no one was hurt,” Masmari said in a letter to the court. “I should have gotten alcohol counseling. … I wish I had."
Thoughts on Masmari's remarks and his sentence, Instincters?