Man Pleads Guilty to Murder in Deadly Shooting at California Synagogue

A 22-year-old man pleaded responsible on Tuesday to homicide in a lethal assault at a synagogue in Southern California on the final day of Passover two years in the past, throughout which he spewed anti-Semitic remarks, fatally shot a 60-year-old lady and injured three others.

In a deal that spared him the dying penalty, the person, John T. Earnest, agreed to serve the remainder of his life in jail with out the potential for parole for the taking pictures at Chabad of Poway synagogue in San Diego on April 27, 2019, the San Diego County district legal professional’s workplace mentioned in an announcement.

“While we reserved the option of trying this as a death penalty case, life in prison without the possibility of parole for the defendant is an appropriate resolution to this violent hate crime, and we hope it brings a measure of justice and closure to the victims, their families, friends and the wider community,” Summer Stephan, the San Diego County district legal professional, mentioned in an announcement. She mentioned she had consulted with victims and their kinfolk earlier than agreeing to the deal.

During a listening to on Tuesday in San Diego Superior Court, Mr. Earnest pleaded responsible to homicide, tried homicide and a firearms cost. He additionally pleaded responsible to arson for setting hearth to a mosque in Escondido, Calif., a month earlier than the assault on the synagogue, admitting that each acts had been hate crimes, the district legal professional’s workplace mentioned.

Mr. Earnest, who’s to be formally sentenced on Sept. 30, can be dealing with federal fees in reference to the lethal taking pictures at the synagogue. Federal prosecutors have till Aug. 30 to point out whether or not they plan to pursue the dying penalty in their case.

According to the authorities, Mr. Earnest entered Chabad of Poway synagogue, about 25 miles north of San Diego, on April 27, 2019, and yelled anti-Semitic slurs at the 40 to 60 folks there, screaming that Jews had been ruining the world. He then opened hearth with an AR-15-style gun, killing 60-year-old Lori Gilbert-Kaye. Among these injured had been Yisroel Goldstein, a rabbi who was shot in each fingers and misplaced an index finger, an Eight-year-old woman and her 34-year-old uncle.

Attendance at the synagogue that day was bigger than normal, with many older congregants there to say Yizkor, a memorial prayer for the lifeless that’s mentioned on Jewish holidays.

Rabbi Goldstein mentioned shortly after the taking pictures that he couldn’t “erase the moment, and it is going to be embedded there forever.”

“I guarantee you, we will not be intimidated or deterred by terror,” he mentioned in April 2019. “Terror will not win.”

On June four, Mr. Earnest despatched a conditional plea settlement to federal prosecutors for his or her consideration, in accordance to the San Diego district legal professional’s workplace. Kelly Thornton, the spokeswoman for the U.S. legal professional’s workplace for the Southern District of California, mentioned in an announcement on Tuesday that “the decision by the Department of Justice whether to seek the death penalty remains pending.”

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

Mr. Earnest is scheduled to seem in federal courtroom on Sept. Eight, the district legal professional’s workplace mentioned.

The taking pictures at Chabad of Poway synagogue got here after a collection of lethal assaults at homes of worship, together with the mass shootings at mosques in New Zealand, church bombings in Sri Lanka and the bloodbath at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, in which a gunman armed with an AR-15-style assault rifle killed 11 folks, ensuing in one of many deadliest assaults in opposition to Jews in the United States.