Man Pleads Guilty to Murder in Deadly Shooting at California Synagogue

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U.S.|Man Pleads Guilty to Murder successful Deadly Shooting astatine California Synagogue

In a plea woody that spared him the decease penalty, John T. Earnest admitted to sidesplitting a pistillate and injuring 3 others astatine a synagogue connected the past time of Passover successful 2019.

Police extracurricular  of Chabad of Poway synagogue, successful  Poway, Calif., the time  aft  the onslaught  successful  April 2019.
Credit...Denis Poroy/Associated Press

Published July 20, 2021Updated July 21, 2021, 7:16 a.m. ET

A 22-year-old antheral pleaded blameworthy connected Tuesday to execution successful a deadly attack astatine a synagogue successful Southern California connected the past time of Passover 2 years ago, during which helium spewed anti-Semitic remarks, fatally changeable a 60-year-old pistillate and injured 3 others.

In a woody that spared him the decease penalty, the man, John T. Earnest, agreed to service the remainder of his beingness successful situation without the anticipation of parole for the shooting astatine Chabad of Poway synagogue successful San Diego connected April 27, 2019, the San Diego County territory attorney’s bureau said successful a statement.

“While we reserved the enactment of trying this arsenic a decease punishment case, beingness successful situation without the anticipation of parole for the suspect is an due solution to this convulsive hatred crime, and we anticipation it brings a measurement of justness and closure to the victims, their families, friends and the wider community,” Summer Stephan, the San Diego County territory attorney, said successful a statement. She said she had consulted with victims and their relatives earlier agreeing to the deal.

During a proceeding connected Tuesday successful San Diego Superior Court, Mr. Earnest pleaded blameworthy to murder, attempted execution and a firearms charge. He besides pleaded blameworthy to arson for mounting occurrence to a mosque successful Escondido, Calif., a period earlier the onslaught connected the synagogue, admitting that some acts were hatred crimes, the territory attorney’s bureau said.

Mr. Earnest, who is to beryllium formally sentenced connected Sept. 30, is besides facing national charges successful transportation with the deadly shooting astatine the synagogue. Federal prosecutors person until Aug. 30 to bespeak whether they program to prosecute the decease punishment successful their case.

According to the authorities, Mr. Earnest entered Chabad of Poway synagogue, astir 25 miles northbound of San Diego, connected April 27, 2019, and yelled anti-Semitic slurs astatine the 40 to 60 radical there, screaming that Jews were ruining the world. He past opened occurrence with an AR-15-style gun, sidesplitting 60-year-old Lori Gilbert-Kaye. Among those injured were Yisroel Goldstein, a rabbi who was changeable successful some hands and mislaid an scale finger, an 8-year-old miss and her 34-year-old uncle.

Attendance astatine the synagogue that time was larger than usual, with galore older congregants determination to accidental Yizkor, a memorial supplication for the dormant that is said connected Jewish holidays.

Rabbi Goldstein said soon aft the shooting that helium could not “erase the moment, and it is going to beryllium embedded determination forever.”

“I warrant you, we volition not beryllium intimidated oregon deterred by terror,” helium said successful April 2019. “Terror volition not win.”

On June 4, Mr. Earnest sent a conditional plea statement to national prosecutors for their consideration, according to the San Diego territory attorney’s office. Kelly Thornton, the spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s bureau for the Southern District of California, said successful a connection connected Tuesday that “the determination by the Department of Justice whether to question the decease punishment remains pending.”

A lawyer for Mr. Earnest, John O’Connell of the San Diego County Public Defender’s Office, declined to comment.

Mr. Earnest is scheduled to look successful national tribunal connected Sept. 8, the territory attorney’s bureau said.

The shooting astatine Chabad of Poway synagogue came aft a bid of deadly attacks astatine houses of worship, including the wide shootings astatine mosques successful New Zealand, religion bombings successful Sri Lanka and the massacre astatine a synagogue successful Pittsburgh, successful which a gunman equipped with an AR-15-style battle firearm killed 11 people, resulting successful 1 of the deadliest attacks against Jews successful the United States.

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