Los Angeles (CA), .- The Department of Justice of the United States today presented 109 new charges against the alleged author of the shooting that on April 27 left one dead and three wounded in a synagogue in Poway (California).
John T. Earnest, 19, pleaded not guilty last week to five counts, including homicide for hate crime.
The new accusations of the Prosecutor’s Office include 54 charges for obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs, 54 more for hate crimes and an additional one for damage to religious property.
“We will not allow members of our community to be persecuted in their places of worship, where they should feel free and safe to exercise their right to practice their religion,” federal prosecutor Robert S. Brewer Jr. said in a statement.
“Our actions today are inspired by our desire to achieve justice for all victims and their families,” he added.
The defendant, who had no criminal record, could be sentenced to death or life imprisonment if found guilty.
In the synagogue, where dozens of people were found, Lori Gilbert Kaye, 60, was shot dead by Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, 57, Almong Peretz, 34, and Noya Dahan, 8.
Shortly after the shooting, which was recorded by the temple security camera, the suspect called 911 and gave his location.
Later, Earnest was stopped by the Police of San Diego (California).
Earnest allegedly published an open letter on the Internet in which he expressed his intention to assault Jews.
The Earnest family condemned what happened in a press release.
“The way in which our son was attracted by such darkness is a terrifying mystery for us, although we trust that the police will discover many details of the path he took to commit this act so evil and despicable,” they said.
Last year, a man shot in a synagogue in Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) and killed 11 people in the largest attack on the Jewish community in the country’s recent history. (EFEUSA)