John T. Earnest,accused of opening fire at the Poway Chabad, killing one congregant and injuring several others, pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of murder, attempted murder, arson and hate crime allegations.
Presiding Judge Peter C. Deddeh ruled that enough evidence was presented by prosecutors to hold Earnest to answer on the charges, which could lead to the death penalty. Earnest pleaded not guilty Thursday to a new charging document stemming from the preliminary hearing, though prosecutors made little changes to the original charges.
The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office has yet to decide whether to pursue capital punishment against the Rancho Penasquitos resident, who’s being held without bail. Deputy District Attorney David Grapilon said it would be “a minimum of a month or two” before the death penalty decision can be made, with further research into Earnest’s background and communication with the victims’ families needed before rendering a decision. Earnest is due back in court Dec. 5 for a status hearing, at which time a trial date will likely be set.
Read more at ABC NEWS.