Poway shooter pleads not guilty

John Earnest, suspect in fatal shooting at Chabad of Poway, pleads not guilty to federal hate crimes and other charges.

Elad Benari,

John Earnest
John Earnest
Reuters

John Earnest, the suspect in last month’s fatal shooting at the Chabad of Poway near San Diego, has pleaded not guilty to federal hate crimes and other charges, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Earnest entered the plea in San Diego, a week after a grand jury returned a 113-count indictment that largely mirrors a complaint filed shortly after his arrest on April 27.

The indictment added four counts of using and carrying a firearm during commission of a violent crime.

Earnest also faces charges of murder and attempted murder for the attack, in which one person was killed and three were injured, including the rabbi of the synagogue.

He has already pleaded not guilty to 108 federal hate crime charges and civil rights offenses.

Prosecutors have said Earnest could face the death penalty if convicted of the murder charges.

According to AP, Earnest’s parents attended the brief hearing on Tuesday but did not appear to exchange eye contact with their son. The suspect spoke only once, to acknowledge his name.

Shortly after Earnest was initially charged, his parents denounced his actions as "evil" and said they had no clue what motivated him.

"We are shocked and deeply saddened by the terrible attack on the Chabad of Poway synagogue," his parents said in a statement.

"But our sadness pales in comparison to the grief and anguish our son has caused for so many innocent people. He has killed and injured the faithful who were gathered in a sacred place on a sacred day. To our great shame, he is now part of the history of evil that has been perpetrated on Jewish people for centuries."




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