Prosecutors Claim ‘No Evidence’ To Elevate Charges After Jewish Man Killed At Pro-Israel Protest

(Photo by DAVID SWANSON / AFP) (Photo by DAVID SWANSON/AFP via Getty Images)

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Ventura County, California, prosecutors said Friday that the man allegedly involved in the death of a pro-Israel protester did not have “intent to kill, harm or injure anyone,” CBS News reported.

The fatal incident occurred during a protest over the Israel-Hamas conflict in Thousand Oaks in early November. Paul Kessler, 69, died from injuries sustained during an apparent altercation with a pro-Palestinian protester. He reportedly fell and hit his head on the ground after allegedly being struck, according to CBS News.

Loay Abdelfattah Alnaji, 50, a Moorpark College professor, was arrested Thursday at his home and is held on $1 million bail. He has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and battery causing serious bodily injury, the outlet noted.

“It is important to note that when we approached this process, we approached it with an open mind,” Ventura County District Attorney Erik Nasarenko said during the press conference, per CBS News.

The charging document alleges that Alnaji committed involuntary manslaughter through criminally negligent, reckless conduct with a “high risk of death or great bodily injury,” Nasarenko explained, according to CBS.

“To be sure, we received no evidence, no statements, no information whatsoever that the defendant arrived at that intersection … with the intent to kill, harm or injure anyone,” Nasarenko added, the report states. (RELATED: REPORT: Officials Find 23 Tombstones Vandalized With Swastikas At Jewish Cemetery)

Investigators interviewed over 60 witnesses and reviewed 600 pieces of evidence, including video showing the sequence of events leading to the confrontation. The Jewish Federation of Los Angeles stated Kessler was “struck in the head by a megaphone wielding pro-Palestinian protester.” The Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Kessler’s death a homicide, CBS News reported.

Although charges for a hate crime have not been filed, the investigation into this aspect is ongoing. Alnaji is scheduled for arraignment in Ventura County court, the outlet noted.