A man responsible for the mass shooting at a southern California synagogue has pleaded guilty.
The move was to spare his life, but he will now never be free again.
To avoid the death penalty, former nursing student John T. Earnest, pleaded guilty in a San Diego Superior Court to the murder of Lori Gilbert-Kaye, and hurting three others. His sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 30.
In April 2019, Earnest walked into a synagogue on Chabad of Poway during a service to commemorate the last day of the Passover. Armed with a semi-automatic rifle, he opened fire on the congregants. Gilbert-Kaye, 60, was found dead on the scene. Others were injured, including an 8-year-old girl and a rabbi who lost a finger.
Following the mayhem, Earnest placed a call to 911, informing them he was the shooter because he believed Jews were trying to destroy all white people, according to investigators.
"While we reserved the option of trying this as a death penalty case, life in prison without the possibility of parole for the defendant 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. This plea ensures the defendant is held accountable for his crimes under California state law," stated the San Diego district attorney’s office, according to NPR.
The Kaye family and other victim's families were reportedly consulted before the state’s plea deal was completed.
Earnest also admitted to setting a fire inside a California synagogue a month before the deadly shooting, according to NBC.
Though, Earnest still faces federal charges for the shooting. Although U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland recently suspended death row executions while the federal justice department reviews its policies, the 22-year-old defendant still faces the probability of being considered for the death penalty by U.S. prosecutors.
The case is scheduled for a hearing at a federal courthouse on Sept. 8.