30 September (WNN) — The gunman who killed one man and three more people in a shooting at a California synagogue in 2019 was sentenced on Thursday to life without parole.
Under a plea agreement accepted by San Diego Superior Court Judge Peter Dedeh in July, 22-year-old John T. Ernest avoided the death penalty, but was sentenced to 121 years to life in prison without parole and another 16 years in prison.
Ernest pleaded guilty earlier this month to an 113-count indictment of racially and religiously motivated crimes, including the murder of one man and the attempted murder of 53 others in his April 27, 2019 attack on the Chabad synagogue of Powe were involved.
He killed 60-year-old Lori Gilbert-Kaye, while Rabbi Israel Goldstein’s right forefinger was shot. At that time 8-year-old Noya Dahan and her uncle Almog Peretz were injured in the shooting.
Gilbert-Kaye’s daughter, Hannah Kaye, said she hoped that her victim impact statement would reflect “what white supremacist, fanatical, racist violence looks, smells, sounds, feels and, yes, even tastes.” also provided a picture of what America is like in the 21st century – two years ago and now.”
“My mother’s voice has been retrieved with mine,” she said. “John Ernest, your bullets won’t hit my body today as they did to my mom. He’s here. He’s alive in my words… You’re unable to destroy the truth of my experience as much as you want . ”
Ernest also acknowledged that there was an attempt to set fire to the Dar-ul-Arqam Mosque in Escondido, California, due to hatred of Muslims and the religious appearance of the building. Seven missionaries were sleeping in the mosque at the time, but no one was injured.
During Thursday’s hearing, Ernest’s lawyer said his client wanted to make a statement but the judge refused.
“I don’t want this to be a platform for them to make white supremacist or racist statements,” Dedeh said. “I’m not going to use this platform to add her to my celebrity.”