NYE arsonist pleads guilty

Timothy Kincaid

May 2nd, 2014

On New Year’s Eve, someone set fire to the stairwell in Neighbors nightclub in Seattle’s Capitol Hill. Fortunately, among the revelers were some military personnel who put out the fire and saved 750 lives.

After surveillance video was released, concerned citizens recognized Musab Mohammed Masmari, with whom various neighborhood business had experienced run-ins. Although police responded with snail speed, eventually Masmari was arrested after he purchased a one-way ticket to Libya Turkey.

Now Masmari has pled guilty (Seattle Times)

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 a prison sentence of five years, although the maximum penalty is 20 years. Sentencing is scheduled for July 31.

There were no enhancements for hate crimes, terrorism, or attempted murder. It is unclear whether he was eating twinkies at the time he set fire to the stairwell.

But hey, at least he will be imprisoned for five years – unless he is paroled. And that’s a full 2.4 days for each person whom he attempted to kill that night.

Priya Lynn

May 2nd, 2014

Do you know what was the nature of these run-ins he had with local businesses?

Timothy Kincaid

May 2nd, 2014

Priya Lynn,

This article from earlier lists some of the problems



May 3rd, 2014

Words fail me.

Surely something can be done about this.

Priya Lynn

May 3rd, 2014

Thanks Timothy.

David Malcolm

May 3rd, 2014

My guess is that after two years in prison he’ll hopefully not want to start any more fires.


May 3rd, 2014

Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, got life in prison without possibility of parole. There’s no reason Masmari should get any less. Did the agreement stipulate that no other charges would be filed?

Mark F.

May 3rd, 2014

@Merv Very likely, otherwise why would he have agreed to it?

Joseph Singer

May 3rd, 2014

As a Seattle resident I really quite resent your inclusion of “It is unclear whether he was eating twinkies at the time he set fire to the stairwell” and I think it’s a little insensitive. There really was no need for you to include that with your report. The incident was not humorous at all and if it were not for the fast action of the military folks who were there loss of life could have been a real possibility.

Timothy Kincaid

May 4th, 2014


That was a reference to the minuscule sentence Dan White received for killing Harvey Milk. His defense, which became known as the “Twinkie Defense” was that he had been eating too much junk food.

I find this wen tens similarly ridiculously short.

Paul Douglas

May 3rd, 2014

Sorry Joseph, as a non-Seattle resident I don’t see the sarcasm and irony here as insensitive at all. Dan White got off with a five year sentence (Twinkie Defense) for a double assassination and this guy is getting 5 years for the premeditated attempt to kill many more. GLBT people still aren’t considered valuable enough to punish hate crime perpetrators appropriately and this is what Timothy was alluding to.

Michael Moore

May 4th, 2014

It seems unlikely that Masman is going to get the help it sounds like he needs in prison, even though we do live in a country where the majority of people, especially people of color, with mental health problems are “treated.”

BTB’s “hang ’em high” attitude, however, is not surprising, given this blog’s reactionary politics and eagerness to align with the racists and homophobes whenever white supremacy is challenged.

Paul Douglas

May 4th, 2014

Gawd Michael, get over it. Please give some examples of “this blog’s reactionary politics and eagerness to align with the racists and homophobes whenever white supremacy is challenged.”
Are mental health problems adequately treated in this country? Obviously not. Do the taxpayers of America have an obligation and a responsibility to treat someone who by all accounts should have been deported a long time ago (if ever allowed in the country) is another issue that people can disagree on. His “race” is irrelevant, and frankly I’m pretty sure Masmari would not have thought of himself as a person “of color”.
But obviously you do.


May 4th, 2014

Let me guess the plea deal involves telling the federal government about any other possible terrorists he was associated with.


May 5th, 2014

It’s important to remember that sentencing recommendations are not binding upon a court and a defendant cannot withdraw a plea agreement if the court imposes a sentence other than the one which is recommended. In essence the feds agreed to recommend the mandatory minimum in the case but the sentencing commission report is going to be much more important in determining his ultimate sentence. The prosecutors by only giving a sentencing recommendation gave the defendant the minimal concession possible.


May 6th, 2014

There’s no parole for Federal criminal sentences.

Timothy Kincaid

May 6th, 2014


Thanks. I didn’t know that.

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