Washington – Two months after the murder incident of the Saudi student Hussain al-Nahdi, 24, in the University of Wisconsin-Stout the police arrested Cullen M. Osburn, 27, of Minneapolis who was charged with felony murder and aggravated battery. Osburn was transferred to a court at Dunn County in Wisconsin.
The prosecution asked for a sentence for at least 15 years in prison and additional year for the aggravated battery, according to the indictment papers which Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper received a copy of.
Wisconsin law prohibits the death sentence.
The Hennepin County Attorney’s office said that Osburn admitted to assaulting Hussein al-Nahdi outside of the Toppers Pizza on Menomonie’s Main Street on Oct. 30, 2016.
The criminal complaint says police were called to the restaurant just after 2 a.m. on a report of a fight outside involving three men.
Police arrived to find Nahdi unconscious and bleeding from the nose and mouth. Two men were holding him in a seated position and supporting his neck until paramedics arrived. Osburn fled the scene, while the police were unable to identify him immediatly.
Nahdi was taken to a local hospital before being airlifted to Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. He died the next day after undergoing surgery to decrease his brain swelling. His official cause of death was a traumatic brain injury.
Police report said that Osburn contacted police on Nov. 2 to say he was scared and was going to cooperate with them, but he needed to get a lawyer before talking with officials. He also made it clear that the attack was not motivated by Alnahdi’s race. Osburn never contacted police again, and investigators were unable to track him down until Jan. 12, 2017, when he was located and arrested in Minneapolis.
Osburn’s criminal record reveals an extensive criminal history since he was 16 years old. He was convicted for several felonies for domestic assault and violating an order for protection. He was facing a battery charge when he killed the Saudi student.
A Saudi diplomat in Washington informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the embassy asked U.S. authorities to provide the records, investigation results, interrogations, and the testimonies of the convict and witnesses.
The source also said that the Saudi Consulate in Huston sent a team of officials and lawyers to Wisconsin to follow the case and represent the victim’s family.
Osburn’s sister, Mariah Hughes, met with police a couple days after Nahdi’s death and gave her testimony.
The arrest of Osburn has brought a sense of relief and joy to University of Wisconsin-Stout. The university issued a statement saying that the death of Hussein has affected everyone on campus, especially the international and minority students who expressed concern for their safety.
UW-Stout Chancellor Bob Meyer sent a statement to campus Friday thanking police for their work in “tirelessly pursuing leads that resulted in this arrest,” as well as expressing gratitude for other authorities involved in the investigation.
“I have witnessed many people reaching out to these concerned students to assure them that they live and study in a safe environment. I hope these efforts to help all students feel safe on campus and in the community continues,” Meyer stressed.
“I hope this arrest brings some measure of peace and comfort to Hussain’s family in Saudi Arabia. They have gone through a living nightmare, and our hearts and prayers continue to go out to them. I also hope that Hussain’s roommates and many friends on campus also feel a sense of closure and relief with the arrest,” he said.