One hundred and nine federal charges have been levied on John Earnest who killed one and injured three at the Poway synagogue in California.
US Federal Attorney for the Southern District of California Robert Brewer said that 54 of these charges are on obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs, and 54. Each charge is counted individually against the 54 members of the congregation who were present at the shooting. The 109th charge is for a suspected arson at a nearby mosque.
Last month the 19yr was charged on the State level with one count of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted first-degree murder, and a single count of arson on a mosque in Escondido, CA that caught fire last month.
If convicted of the charges, Earnest could face the death penalty or a life sentence without parole.
The prosecution said during the State hearing that security cameras caught the entire shooting on camera, and the suspect was arrested shortly after the act, with five magazines containing 50 bullets, a tactical vest and a helmet on him. The weapon apparently got stuck allowing him to shoot ten bullets.
At the hearing, Earnest was behind a glass panel, wearing blue prison clothes from the prison system, and quietly gave one-word answers to procedural questions.
Judge Joseph Brannigan scheduled a subsequent hearing for May 30th and denied granting him bail, calling Earnest ”an extreme threat to public safety”. He is scheduled to have his preliminary hearing trial on July 8th.
The police investigating the shooting attack estimate that Earnest acted alone and was not part of any organized group.