Why Hasn't Paul Kessler's Murderer Been Arrested?

You may remember this incident which happened last November 5 in Thousand Oaks, California. There were dueling protests taking place across a street. A pro-Israel protesters named Paul Kessler was carrying an Israeli flag while a larger group of pro-Palestine protesters were shouting slogans from across the street. At some point, Kessler encountered one of those protesters, a 50-year-old professor named Loay Alnaji. 

What happened next is a matter of dispute. What we know for certain is that after the encounter with Alnaji, Kessler fell back and hit his head on the sidewalk. He was conscious but had to be taken away by ambulance. He died hours later from his injuries.

Loay Alnaji was arrested on Nov. 16, more than a week later. He was charged with involuntary manslaughter and battery. He pleaded not guilty to the charges and has been out on bail ever since. Yesterday and today a preliminary hearing is taking place to determine whether or not this case will proceed to trial. The prosecutor’s theory of the case is that Alnaji didn’t intend to kill Kessler but his actions led directly to his death. Alnaji claims he isn’t responsible.

Deputy Sheriff Briana Vazquez testified that she responded to the scene while Kessler was still lying on the concrete. She interviewed Alnaji, who was sitting nearby.

He told her that Kessler approached him on the street corner and that the two inched closer as they argued until they stood roughly 18 inches apart.

Kessler thrust his phone into Alnaji’s face, Alnaji told Vasquez, prompting him to swing his megaphone up from his hip in an attempt to knock the phone away. He made contact with the phone, sending it flying, Alnaji told Vasquez, and possibly with Kessler’s hand.

Other officers described their interviews with two witnesses – a pro-Israel protester who was standing across the street and a driver stopped at the intersection – who said they saw Alnaji swing before Kessler fell.

Alnaji’s lawyer claimed the witnesses were confused about what they saw and that his client was several feet away when Kessler fell. He suggested Kessler had some kind of medical episode that caused him to fall and hit his head.

Redstate’s Jennifer Van Laar is at the hearing today and she reports on some new evidence being presented today.

In other words, it sounds like Alnaji’s bullhorn hit Kessler in the face hard enough to leave scrapes and, presumably, to knock him down. Of course we’ll have to wait and see what the defense makes of this evidence but as of now it sound like this case is going to proceed to trial.

This clip is from last November when Alnaji was arrested.

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