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Gay SF man denies murder charge

by Seth Hemmelgarn

The gay man accused of fatally stabbing his boyfriend in San Francisco's Hayes Valley has pleaded not guilty.

Othman Al-Muttalaby, 26, who's being held on $10 million bail in the death of Keith Harris, 48, appeared in orange jail clothes and handcuffs with a white brace on his right hand as he entered his plea Wednesday, November 15.

Harris was found November 2 on the floor of his apartment at 340 Hayes Street, two days after he'd last been seen alive. Little information about what allegedly happened between him and Al-Muttalaby, who'd been living with him, has been shared.

Al-Muttalaby was arrested November 7 at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. Jail records indicate that he was transferred to County Jail #2 on November 16.

Police have said that he'd been treated for an injury in the hospital, but officials haven't disclosed what that injury was or how long he'd been hospitalized.

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, described both men as kind and have expressed shock at what's happened. They said they hadn't witnessed trouble between them, but Al-Muttalaby had reportedly been suicidal in the weeks leading up to Harris' death.

During his court appearance last week, Al-Muttalaby at times leaned his head on the shoulder of Deputy Public Defender Cindy Elias, who later told the Bay Area Reporter that Al-Muttalaby doesn't want to speak with the media.

(Al-Muttalaby has also been known as Alkoraishie Ali and Ali Liam.)

Mark Russell, a Sacramento man who said on his Facebook page that he used to live with Al-Muttalaby, has shared much of the B.A.R.'s coverage about the case with friends. In comments he made on his page before Al-Muttalaby's arrest, Russell said Al-Muttalaby "is crazy. ... I'm just glad he is out of my life and I sold the condo. He doesn't know where I live now."

Russell has told the B.A.R. that he was "stunned" about Harris' death, but he has declined to share many details on his relationship with Al-Muttalaby.

The B.A.R. hasn't been able to locate any civil or criminal court records indicating that Al-Muttalaby has had any previous legal troubles in the Bay Area.

Al-Muttalaby's next court date is December 13.

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