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Man Still in Hospital After Boyfriend's Death

by Seth Hemmelgarn

Othman Al-Muttalaby, left, with Keith Harris
Othman Al-Muttalaby, left, with Keith Harris  (Source:Courtesy Facebook )

The man accused of killing his boyfriend in San Francisco's Hayes Valley remains in the hospital two weeks after his partner was found stabbed.

Officials have shared little information about what happened between Othman Al-Muttalaby, 26, whose bail has been set at $10 million, and Keith Harris, 48, whose body was found November 2, two days after he'd last been seen.

However, a friend of Harris' who lives in Los Angeles and uses the name Abdullah Max on Facebook, said that Harris had told him that he wanted Al-Muttalaby to leave the apartment they shared at 340 Hayes Street.

Even a couple of weeks before Al-Muttalaby moved into Harris' apartment this fall, Harris had told Max, "Ali is spending way too much time here." (Al-Muttalaby has also been known as Alkoraishie Ali and Ali Liam, and many who know him refer to him as "Ali.")

But when Harris would ask Al-Muttalaby when he was going to move out, Al-Muttalaby would start crying "and try to make Keith feel sorry for him," said Max, who didn't want his real name published because he's not out to his family.

"Keith wanted his space," but "he couldn't get rid of him. He just stayed there," said Max. He thinks Harris was worried that Al-Muttalaby "might do something to himself, and Keith would feel responsible."

Harris "always put other people's feelings before his," said Max. If Harris saw someone upset, "he would try his best to make them happy, even if that was going to affect his life."

Max, 27, who said he and Harris had dated for several months and still talked frequently, said that he'd met Al-Muttalaby a couple times and thought he seemed "fake."


Court Delays

Al-Muttalaby, who was arrested November 7 at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and faces murder and domestic violence charges, hasn't entered a plea. His case was set for arraignment Monday and again on Tuesday, but he didn't appear in court.

[Update: Wednesday, November 15] Al-Muttalaby, who had a white brace on his right hand, appeared briefly in court Wednesday and pleaded not guilty. The B.A.R. will have more updates in the Thursday, November 20 edition of the paper. [End update]

Police have said that Al-Muttalaby's in the hospital for an injury, but details about how he was injured and how long he's been in the hospital haven't been released.

In court Monday, Deputy Public Defender Cindy Elias said that she'd spoken to Al-Muttalaby, but she couldn't say in open court why he's in the hospital. Outside the courtroom, Elias declined to elaborate on Al-Muttalaby's condition, and she wouldn't say whether his injury was self-inflicted.

Tuesday, Elias said "based on a conversation" she'd had earlier in the day with Al-Muttalaby, she wanted to continue the arraignment to Wednesday. She also said that she hadn't received a copy of the police report or other discovery.

Assistant District Attorney Andrew Ganz said that he had allowed Elias to review an initial narrative in the case and a summary of a statement that Al-Muttalaby made, but he wasn't able to do more yet.

Ganz also said that it wasn't clear whether Al-Muttalaby was "unable to be arraigned due to his condition" or it was "his choice that he does not want to be arraigned." The case was continued to Wednesday afternoon.

After court, Elias said she didn't want to comment on Al-Muttalaby until she had more information. Prosecutors haven't publicly provided any additional details.

Two neighbors reportedly heard yelling from Harris' apartment early in the morning of November 1, but neither of them would speak to the Bay Area Reporter.

People who knew Harris, who was as an engineering manager at Automotive Mastermind, and Al-Muttalaby, who's worked as a go-go dancer, porn actor, and fitness trainer, have expressed shock at what's happened. They said they hadn't witnessed trouble between them.

Two men who lived with Al-Muttalaby in Oakland before he moved in with Harris this fall said Al-Muttalaby had invited them to Thanksgiving in San Francisco, which they took as an indication that the relationship wasn't troubled. (Neither man wanted his name published.)

One of the men said that he'd never seen Al-Muttalaby be violent.

"I'd say he's more emotional," he said. "... You could get him to cry easily, basically just like a kid," especially when he would think of his family, who live in Iraq.

As the B.A.R. previously reported, Ammar Aliraqi, Al-Muttalaby's brother, said in a Facebook exchange that when the family last heard from him about a month ago, he'd said that he wanted to kill himself because he missed his mother. (Aliraqi also lists his last name on Facebook as Al-muttalabi.)

Police have said that Harris died after being taken to San Francisco General, but neighbors told the B.A.R. they saw the medical examiner's van at the building the day Harris was found, indicating he was already dead. The medical examiner's office hasn't released the cause of death, but police said that Harris had suffered "stab wounds."

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