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(Reuters) - A California nursing student charged with last month’s deadly shooting spree in a San Diego-area synagogue and arson at a nearby mosque pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to more than 100 counts of federal hate crimes and civil rights offenses.
John Timothy Earnest, 19, who could face the death penalty if convicted, was appointed an attorney with expertise in capital cases in a brief appearance in U.S. District Court in San Diego.
Earnest pleaded not guilty last month in state court to one count of murder as a hate crime - a capital offense under California law - and three counts of attempted murder stemming from the April 27 shooting at the Chabad of Poway synagogue. One worshipper was killed in that attack and three others wounded.
He also pleaded not guilty to arson in connection with a March 24 fire that damaged the Islamic Center of Escondido. No one was injured in that blaze.
The suspect, who was arrested following the synagogue attack, was linked to the mosque fire after an online manifesto written by a John Earnest was discovered claiming responsibility for it and professing to have been inspired by a gunman who killed 50 people at two mosques in New Zealand earlier in March.
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COMMENTS VIA TWITTER
The man charged in the shooting at a CA synagogue in April & arson of a mosque in March pleaded not guilty to over… https://t.co/ncpFMVR6me
Synagogue Shooting Suspect Pleads Not Guilty to Hate Crimes https://t.co/Hm6WWOszou @ADL @Hatewatch @START_UMD… https://t.co/hOf4OmPhNE
@freespeech4evr @NorCoSD @slpng_giants @willsommer No way, shitweasel. THIS is a fascist: https://t.co/GpWmybGE3d https://t.co/8qBAQdmxxu
@Dave38947965 @MSNBC another MAGAt - remember, these are all guys on the VIOLENT RIGHT https://t.co/QX9PMMvENp
@FOXHOUNDER1014 It's been legitimized: https://t.co/R1VJzkzkPP And executed: https://t.co/UQQZKb0CtQ Many:… https://t.co/QiU6PXhQmF