The suspect in last month’s shooting at a synagogue in Poway, California, now faces more than a hundred federal civil rights and hate crime charges, according to federal prosecutors.
On Thursday, US Attorney for the Southern District of California Robert Brewer said prosecutors filed a new criminal complaint against 19-year-old John T. Earnest.
Earnest is accused of carrying out the deadly shooting at the Chabad of Poway synagogue that killed 60-year-old Lori Gilbert Kaye and injured three others, including the rabbi and and 8-year-old girl. He is also suspected of arson at a mosque in nearby Escondido in late March.
“Our actions today are inspired by our desire to achieve justice for all of the victims and their families,” Brewer said at a news conference.
The new criminal complaint charges Earnest with 109 new counts — including 54 counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death and bodily injury and involving the attempt to kill, Brewer said.
“That’s one count for every person in the synagogue on April 27, including 12 children,” Brewer said, adding that each of the counts is “death penalty-eligible.”
Earnest faces an additional 54 hate crime counts for each person in the synagogue, and another charge of damage to religious property in connection with the case of arson at the Escondido mosque.