The Department of Justice, which continues to make Jan. 6 Capitol protesters its top priority, said it will not pursue the death penalty for a virulently anti-Semitic synagogue shooter who killed one and injured three in April 2019.
John T. Earnest, a 22-year-old former nursing student opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle during the last day of Passover services at Chabad of Poway in San Diego, Calif.
The attack killed 60-year-old Lori Gilbert–Kaye and wounded three others, including an 8-year-old girl and the rabbi, who lost a finger.
Earnest then called 911 to say he had shot up a synagogue because Jews were trying to “destroy all white people,” authorities said.
Although he would seem to fit the bill for a “domestic violent extremist” and a so-called white supremacist, the DOJ decided not to pursue capital punishment.
The reason may have something to do with Earnest’s manifesto, in which he denounces then-President Donald Trump in particularly unflattering terms.
“Are you a Trump supporter?” Earnest asked himself in the six-page screed.
“You mean that Zionist, Jew–loving, anti–White, traitorous c***sucker? Don’t make me laugh,” he replied.
He likewise disavowed conservatism.
“I am not a useless, spineless coward so no—I am not a conservative,” he ranted.
“Conservative is a misnomer,” he continued. “They conserve nothing. They’ll complain all they want but they won’t take up arms and threaten their government with death (the only thing that works).”
But his overtly anti-Semitic attitudes may have helped also amid a growing wave of anti-Israeli sentiment on the radical Left.
“I hate anyone who seeks the destruction of my race,” Earnest wrote to himself. “Every Jew currently alive plays a part in the destruction of my race. Does that answer your question?”
The decision not to seek the death penalty was disclosed Monday in a one-sentence court filing in federal court in San Diego.
It comes less than two months after US Attorney General Merrick Garland halted federal executions while the Justice Department conducts a review of its policies and procedures.
Several top California prosecutors who are financially backed by former-Nazi-collaborator-turned-hedge-fund-billionaire George Soros have likewise supported leniency for violent criminals as part of a sweeping overhaul of the criminal justice system that also includes defunding the police.
In July, Earnest pleaded guilty to murder and other charges in state court. The San Diego County district attorney’s office said at the time that he agreed to serve the rest of his life in state prison without the possibility of parole. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 30.
In the federal case, Earnest submitted a conditional plea agreement for consideration by federal prosecutors in June 4, the terms of which have not been disclosed. A hearing in that case is scheduled Sept. 8.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press