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Man charged with plotting to bomb Pueblo synagogue waives preliminary hearing

Richard Holzer due back in court Nov. 25
Posted at 12:24 PM, Nov 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-08 14:24:58-05

DENVER – The Pueblo man charged with planning to blow up the Temple Emanuel synagogue in Pueblo a week ago waived his preliminary hearing Friday in a brief federal court appearance and was ordered to be held in federal custody pending his next court appearance.

Richard Holzer, 27, appeared in court with his public defender, and the attorney and Assistant U.S. Attorney David Tonini hashed out the next steps in the case.

Holzer is charged with attempting to obstruct persons in the enjoyment of their free exercise of religious beliefs, through force and the attempted use of explosives and fire. He did not contest being held in federal custody, according to court documents.

The judge in the case wrote in Holzer’s detention order that “no condition or combination of conditions of release will reasonable assure the appearance of the defendant.”

According to a federal criminal complaint unsealed Monday, Holzer, a self-professed white supremacist, planned to wipe the storied synagogue “off the map,” as he told the three undercover FBI agents who worked with him on the plot.

He was arrested last Friday after the undercover agents met with him and delivered him what he thought were pipe bombs and dynamite, but were actually inert devices, the complaint said. The FBI had been investigating him since September after an FBI employee contacted him through Facebook saying they were interested in white supremacy and they began talking.

In the wake of Holzer’s arrest, the synagogue said it would not be threatened by Holzer’s plan but said it would be adding surveillance cameras to enhance security.

He is next due in the U.S. District Court of Colorado in Denver for a status conference on Nov. 25.