A former nursing student pleaded guilty in San Diego Superior Court on Tuesday to shooting congregants at a Poway synagogue on the last day of Passover in 2019, killing one person and injuring three others, including a child.
John T. Earnest, now 22, admitted charges of murder and attempted murder in a plea deal that spares him a potential death sentence in the state case. He pleaded guilty to all the charges he faced, including arson for setting fire to an Escondido mosque a month before the attack on the synagogue, and he admitted that both acts were hate crimes.
As a result of his plea, Earnest will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, plus 121 years to life and another 16 years. It was the maximum possible punishment he could face, short of the death penalty, which prosecutors had earlier signaled they had planned to pursue.