Synagogue Shooting Suspect Pleads Not Guilty

SAN DIEGO — The 19-year-old suspect in a fatal shooting at a Poway synagogue has pleaded not guilty to federal hate crimes.

John T. Earnest spoke only twice during a brief hearing Tuesday in San Diego, once to acknowledge his name and once to say he agreed with his court-appointed attorney’s request not to seek bond.

Prosecutor Peter Ko said the federal government has not decided whether to seek the death penalty.

He reaffirmed plans to try the case separately but simultaneously with state charges of murder and attempted murder, which could also expose Earnest to the death penalty.

Earnest is accused of bursting into the Chabad of Poway synagogue on April 27 and opening fire with an assault rifle, killing one person and injuring three.

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