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White supremacist who plotted to blow up Pueblo synagogue sentenced to 19 years in federal prison

Temple Emanuel in Pueblo
Suspect in Colorado synagogue bombing plot pleads guilty
Posted at 5:56 PM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 19:56:41-05

DENVER – A white supremacist who plotted to blow up the Temple Emanuel Synagogue in Pueblo in 2019 was sentenced Friday to more than 19 years in federal prison.

Richard Holzer, 28, pleaded guilty in October to federal hate crime and explosives charges for his 2019 plot, which was considered domestic terrorism.

Holzer was arrested in November 2019 after meeting with undercover FBI agents in an attempt to bomb the synagogue to wipe it “off the map” in what he called a “racial holy war.”

He had been speaking with undercover agents for months before his arrest, as federal officials tracked several of his Facebook accounts, which he used to communicate with other white supremacists who were intent on starting what he called a racial holy war.

On Nov. 1, 2019, Holzer met with the agents, who provided him with fake explosives they had made. He took out a copy of “Mein Kampf” and told the agents he would blow the synagogue up in the early hours of the next morning before he was subsequently arrested.

Holzer’s attorney asked for a more lenient sentence than was proposed during Friday’s court hearing, but the federal judge sentenced him to 235 months in prison, which will be followed by 15 years of supervised release.

“Today’s sentence is another step forward in our on-going fight against extremism,” U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn said in a statement. “About two-and-a-half years ago, my first day as U.S. Attorney took me to a vigil for victims from the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue attack. Today, my last day in the office, we have sentenced the extremist responsible for the attempted bombing of the Temple Emanuel Synagogue in Pueblo. We must remain ever vigilant in this battle and I am confident the Department will continue to lead this fight.”

“Today’s sentence demonstrates the commitment by the FBI and our law enforcement partners to ensure that if a crime is motivated by bias against a religion or any other federally protected status, it will be aggressively investigated, and the perpetrators held responsible for their actions," said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider.