The 19-year-old nursing student accused of murdering a 60-year-old woman at a Chabad synagogue last month and wounding three others pleaded not guilty to 108 federal hate crime charges and civil rights offenses Tuesday.
John Earnest, who burst into a Chabad synagogue in Poway, California last month and opened fire on the congregation during Sabbath services killed 60-year-old was previously charged by local prosecutors with murder in the first degree and three counts of attempted murder.
On Tuesday, federal prosecutors separately charged Earnest with 109 counts of hate crimes and civil rights offenses – 108 of them stemming from the April 27th synagogue shooting, and one relating to an arson incident at a mosque in the nearby town of Escondido.
The charges included 54 counts of hate-crime violations – one for each of the 54 people inside of the synagogue at the time of the attack – and 54 civil rights offenses.
The federal charge sheet also included one civil rights offense related to the mosque arson, which Earnest allegedly took responsibility for in a manifesto released in his name shortly before the synagogue shooting.
Earnest pleaded not guilty to all 109 charges Tuesday.
Prosecutors have said Earnest could face the death penalty if convicted of the murder charges.