Richard Holzer, the 28-year-old white supremacist who plotted to blow up the Temple Emanuel Synagogue in Pueblo last year, pleaded guilty Thursday to federal hate crime and explosive charges, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.
Holzer, of Pueblo, faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for the hate crime charge and 20 years for the explosive charge, along with a fine up to $250,000, the Justice Department said in a news release.
He’s set to be sentenced Jan. 20.
“The defendant attempted to bomb the Temple Emanuel Synagogue to drive people of Jewish faith out of his community,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division said in the news release. “Violence motivated by religious intolerance strikes at the heart of a free society, and the Justice Department will continue to investigate and prosecute these violent acts of hate.”
In the plea agreement, Holzer — who, according to prosecutors, self-identified as a neo-Nazi and white supremacist — admitted that he planned to destroy Temple Emanuel, the second-oldest synagogue in Colorado.
Undercover agents foiled Holzer’s plan last November when they met with him to discuss his plan to incite a racial holy war and destroy the synagogue.
During the meeting with the undercover agents, Holzer “repeatedly expressed his hatred of Jewish people and suggested using explosive devices to destroy the synagogue,” the Justice Department said. He admitted in the agreement to coordinating with undercover agents to obtain explosives, including pipe bombs.
“The actions Holzer admitted in the plea agreement meet the federal definition of domestic terrorism, as they involved criminal acts dangerous to human life that were intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population,” federal prosecutors said in the news release.
The incident rattled the Pueblo Jewish community and other Jewish congregations across the country as experts monitor a rise in anti-Semitism in recent years.
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