The convicted shooter in the 2019 Poway synagogue shooting in California, who killed one woman and injured three others, was given a second life sentence this week in a symbolic gesture three months after his initial sentencing.
Shooter John Earnest did not speak during the sentencing that was crowded with family members and loved ones of those involved in the tragedy. Earnest’s attorney, Ellis Johnston III, noted the actions while adding this client had later shown remorse for his actions.
“US District Judge Anthony Battaglia said the federal and state life sentences would run one after the other instead of concurrently, acknowledging it was symbolic but that it was meant to send a strong message,” according to the Associated Press.
Earnest had pleaded guilty to crimes in September after he was told the death penalty would not be sought. He was previously sentenced to life without parole plus 137 years in prison.
Earnest’s Poway attack near San Diego on April 27, 2019, resulted in the shooting death of 60-year-old Lori Gilbert-Kaye. His shots also injured three others, including an eight-year-old girl and her uncle, along with Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein.
Earnest called 911 emergency services himself and admitted he was the shooter, according to reports. He also left behind an online hate message prior to the attack. Prior to the Poway incident, Earnest also attempted to burn down a mosque in March 2019.
“The defendant targeted his victims because he hated the Jewish community and Muslim community, hatred that has no place in our society and hatred that will never, never win,” said Randy Grossman, US attorney for the Southern District of California following Tuesday’s hearing, according to CNN. “The defendant and his hatred have been silenced. He will spend the rest of his days and die in prison, while he languishes behind bars.”