The shooter at a California synagogue was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
One person was killed and three others were injured in a shooting at a California synagogue in 2019. The perpetrator was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Thursday.
John T. Earnest, 22, avoided the death penalty after entering a plea agreement with San Diego Superior Court Judge Peter Deddeh in July. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole plus 121 years to life and another 16 years in jail.
In his attack on the Chabad of Poway synagogue on April 27, 2019, Earnest pleaded guilty to a 113-count indictment of racial and religiously motivated offenses, including the murder of one person and the attempted deaths of 53 others.
Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, was slain, and Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein’s right index finger was shot off. The shooting injured Noya Dahan, then eight years old, and her uncle, Almog Peretz.
Hannah Kaye, Gilbert-daughter, Kaye’s expressed optimism that her victim impact statement captured “what White supremacist, bigoted, racist violence looks, smells, sounds, feels, and, yes, even tastes like in America in the twenty-first century — two years ago and now.”
“My mother’s voice is reclaimed by my own,” she remarked. “John Earnest, your bullets will not rip my body apart like they did my mother’s today. She has arrived. In my words, she comes to life… You will never be able to destroy the validity of my experience, no matter how hard you try.”
Earnest also acknowledged to trying to set fire to the Dar-ul-Arqam mosque in Escondido, Calif., because he despises Muslims and the structure’s religious appearance. At the time, seven missionaries were sleeping in the mosque, but no one was hurt.
Earnest’s lawyer claimed his client wanted to make a statement during Thursday’s hearing, but the court refused.
“I don’t want him to use this as a platform to make racist or White nationalist statements,” Deddeh stated. “I will not allow him to utilize this platform to further his celebrity.”
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