Minnesotan found not guilty in death of Saudi student

Minnesotan found not guilty in death of Saudi student
2 min read
19 April, 2018
But the defendant faces a maximum of eight years in prison for battery.
Hussain Saeed Alnahdi died a day after being punched by Osburn [Getty]

A Minneapolis man was convicted on Wednesday of battery in the death of a Saudi Arabian exchange student, but acquitted of a more serious murder charge. 

Cullen M. Osburn, 28, will be sentenced on July 13 for a maximum of eight years in the death of Hussain Saeed Alnahdi, 24, a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

After a six-day trial, a Wisonconsin jury found Obsurn guilty of aggravated battery with intent to cause bodily harm. They found him not guilty of felony murder. 

Osburn reportedly punched Alnahdi outside a pizzeria in Menomonie, a city in Dunn county, on October 30, 2016. Alnahdi died the next day at a hospital. 

The prosecution argued that Osburn was looking for a fight after making 50 unanswered phone calls to his girlfriend and threatened to beat someone else up unless she answered.

"You heard those phone calls," the prosecutor said. "You heard the defendant call her, 'retarded, stupid.' This is a man who uses violence without hesitation".

The attack does not appear to be racially motivated.

Prosecutors also said Osburn later bragged to a motel worker about being in a fight and demonstrated the punch to that worker, which was captured on the motel's surveillance video.

The defence argued that Alnahdi fell because he was drunk and that hospital staff were too slow to address his skull fracture and brain injury. 

"I want a retrial," Osburn said after the judge read the verdict.

"He doesn't understand why he was charged. He feels like he didn't do anything wrong," said Osburn's attorney, Christopher Zipko. "Mr Osburn maintains that he never put his hands on Mr Alnahdi".

The US hosts the largest number of Saudi exchange students in the world. Some 125,000 are currently enrolled in post-secondary universities in the country, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

The exchange programme is overseen by the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission, with the purpose of training nationals with the skills to bolster the Saudi economy. 

Agencies contributed to this report.

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