Synagogue shooting suspect smirks at reporters in court

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SAN DIEGO – The 19-year-old man charged with killing one person and injuring three others a synagogue in Poway shuffled into a San Diego courtroom Thursday showing little emotion.

The hearing lasted only about 5 minutes, but John Earnest stared down reporters on at least three occasions and smirked twice. Other than that, he showed no emotion as his attorney asked a judge for more time to prepare for a pretrial hearing that was originally scheduled for Aug. 19. The attorney told the judge he need extra time, because he needs to go through about 7,500 pages of evidence and testimony.

“This is a very serious case with the potential of the death penalty,” Earnest’s attorney told the judge. “so I need to be prepared more so than in a general case.”

Deputy District Attorney Leonard Trinh argued that despite the large volume of evidence and documents, the surveillance video from inside the synagogue alone shows enough to move forward with the pretrial as originally planned.

The judge ultimately granted an extension, moving the pretrial date to Sept. 19.

“That’s the first real opportunity for the court to hear the evidence and make a finding that there’s enough evidence to go forward with a trial,” Trinh said.

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