Chabad of Poway
Chabad of Poway Courtesy of chabadpoway.com

Federal prosecutors have said they will not seek the death penalty for a 22-year-old charged in the deadly shooting at a Southern California synagogue on the last day of Passover in 2019.

According to a report by The Associated Press, the decision was disclosed Monday in a one-sentence court filing in federal court in San Diego. It comes less than two months after US Attorney General Merrick Garland halted federal executions while the Justice Department conducts a review of its policies and procedures.

In July, the shooter, John T. Earnest, pleaded guilty to murder and other charges in state court. The San Diego County district attorney’s office said at the time that he agreed to serve the rest of his life in state prison without the possibility of parole. Sentencing is scheduled for September 30.

In the federal case, Earnest submitted a conditional plea agreement for consideration by federal prosecutors in June 4, the terms of which have not been disclosed. A hearing in that case is scheduled September 8, according to AP.

Earnest entered Chabad of Poway in April 2019 and opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle, killing 60-year-old Lori Gilbert-Kaye and wounding three others, including an 8-year-old girl and the synagogue’s rabbi.

Earnest told a 911 operator in the moments after the attack that he did it to “save white people from Jews.”

It has been revealed that Earnest did not have a valid hunting license, which is the only way someone under 21 who isn't in the military or law enforcement can legally buy a weapon under California state law.