POWAY, Calif. (AP) – Prosecutors say the 19-year-old charged with opening fire in a Southern California synagogue legally bought the semiautomatic rifle he used.
San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said at a news conference Tuesday that John T. Earnest could face life in prison without parole or the death penalty if he’s convicted of murder with a special circumstance of a hate crime.
She said a decision on whether to seek the death penalty will be made later. Earnest also faces three charges of attempted murder. He pleaded not guilty Tuesday.
The shooting Saturday at Chabad of Poway synagogue killed a woman and injured three others, including the rabbi.
She says the privacy of online conversations can mean families don’t see hate brewing. Earnest’s family expressed shock and shame after the attack.