Neighbours arson suspect received taunting email prior to fire

by: Amy Clancy Updated:

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SEATTLE - The man accused of setting fire to a gay nightclub may have been provoked. 

KIRO 7 has uncovered new evidence against Musab Masmari, who told a friend about his "distaste for homosexuals" shortly before he was charged in the New Year's Eve fire at Neighbours Nightclub.

>> Click here to see the email.

The email was sent by someone who signed it "your slave john." According to new police documents filed in King County Superior Court, "john" offered to polish Masmari's shoes using his tongue. The sender also propositioned Masmari, writing, “You can order me to do what you want me to do," and, "Can I have a chance?"

Investigators with the Seattle Police Department believe the email was written by someone who knew about Masmari's self-admitted "distaste for homosexuals” and call the email "evidence pertinent to hate crime."

Three days after the email was sent to Masmari, Neighbours Nightclub was torched on a busy New Year’s Eve with hundreds of people inside. No one was injured, but police and prosecutors believe it was Masmari who was captured on surveillance video the night of the fire carrying what appeared to be a gas can. Masmari was arrested in January and remains behind bars, charged with arson. But the new documents said additional evidence suggests the arson was also a hate crime, which is exactly what worried clubgoers, like Brycen Baker, who spoke with KIRO 7 shortly after the fire.

“It’s an awful thing to do,” Baker said. “Hopefully, it’s not a hate crime or anything.”

On Wednesday, Ian Goodhew, with the King County Prosecutor’s Office, told KIRO 7, “If and when there’s evidence to support additional charges, they will be filed.”

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