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Poway synagogue attack: Federal government says man motivated by hatred of Jews pleaded guilty to all charges after deadly 2019 assault on California synagogue


“The accused entered a synagogue with the intention of killing everyone there because of his hatred for the Jewish people, and a few days earlier he used fire in an attempt to destroy another place of sacred worship because of his hatred for Muslims, ”said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. said in a statement.

John T. Earnest of Rancho Penasquitos pleaded guilty to 113 counts of hate crimes, the statement said. Prosecutors said the plea deal includes a recommended life sentence plus 30 years.

In addition to the attack on the synagogue on April 27, 2019, Earnest admitted to attempting to set fire to the Dar-ul-Arqam Mosque in Escondido, Calif. On March 24, 2019, the Justice Department said.

Prosecutors said they found a manifesto allegedly written by Earnest in which he wrote anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim statements, including “I can only kill a limited number of Jews” and “I only wish to kill more.”

The Justice Department said Earnest wrote that his attack was inspired by the 2018 shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and the 2019 attack on mosques in New Zealand.

Armed with a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 assault rifle, Earnest, who was 19 at the time, killed Lori Gilbert Kaye, 60, who was at the synagogue to honor her late mother, and injured her three others, including the rabbi and an 8-year-old girl.

They were among more than four dozen people inside the synagogue at the time.

In July, Earnest reached a plea deal on the charges against the state, accepting life in prison without parole on the murder and attempted murder charges. The deal spared him the death penalty.