Professor charged with death of Jewish man at Thousand Oaks protests to stand trial

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – The professor charged with manslaughter in the death of an elderly Jewish man at dueling Israel-Palestine protests in Thousand Oaks last year will stand trial, a judge announced Wednesday.

Loay Alnaji has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, battery and personal injury related to the death of Paul Kessler in November 2023.

Kessler died after he was hit in the head with a megaphone at contentious dueling rallies between pro-Palestine and pro-Israel demonstrators. He then hit his head again as he fell. It happened on Nov. 5, 2023. Deputies were called to the intersection of Thousand Oaks and Westlake boulevards and found Kessler on the ground, conscious but bleeding from his head. Paramedics brought Kessler to the hospital, where he died the following day. 

Deputies arrested Alnaji on Nov. 16. Alnaji pleaded not guilty.

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Alnaji is accused of hitting Kessler with the megaphone, which sent Kessler to the ground. In a preliminary hearing this week, prosecutors presented evidence, including Kessler’s DNA on the front of the megaphone and video from Kessler’s cellphone, showing the moments before he was hit. 

Back in November, Alnaji’s lawyer told FOX 11 that he had videos showing his client was not near Kessler when the 69-year-old fell and hit his head.

At the end of the two-day hearing, Ventura County Superior Court Judge Ryan Wright ruled Wednesday that there was sufficient evidence in the case for Alnaji to stand trial. Alnaji faces four years in prison if he is convicted on all charges. Another arraignment is scheduled for June 10.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.

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