“Earnest admitted that he committed those crimes because of his bias and hatred of Jews,” the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release on Tuesday. Earnest also admitted to setting fire to a mosque prior to the synagogue shooting, “for the purpose of terrorizing Muslim worshippers,” the release added.
San Diego Superior Court Judge Peter Deddeh accepted Earnest’s pleas Tuesday, and a sentencing hearing has been set for September 30.
In a statement, the district attorney’s office said they hope life in prison for Earnest is “an appropriate resolution to this violent hate crime and we hope it brings a measure of justice and closure to the victims, their families, friends and the wider community. “
The decision to accept his plea, the office said, came after they consulted with the shooting victims’ families.
That’s one count for every person who was inside the synagogue, US Attorney for the Southern District of California Robert Brewer previously said. As part of that case, prosecutors referenced an open-letter posted online shortly before the shooting that bore Earnest’s name.
Fintech Zoom has previously reported the letter was filled with anti-Semitic and White nationalist sentiments, and the author talked about planning the attack in Poway, citing as inspiration the gunman in the 2018 deadly shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh — and the shooter who killed congregants at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.