Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, November 22, 2019

Southern Colorado Man Indicted on Federal Hate Crime and Explosives Charges for Plotting to Blow Up Synagogue

Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Civil Rights Division and Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers for the National Security Division, U.S. Attorney Jason R. Dunn for the District of Colorado, and Special Agent in Charge Dean Phillips for the FBI Denver Division announced today that Richard Holzer, 27, of Pueblo, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver for attempting to blow up a synagogue in Pueblo, Colorado. 

The federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment.  Count One charges Holzer with intentionally attempting to obstruct persons in the enjoyment of their free exercise of religious beliefs, through force and the use and attempted use of explosives and fire.  This charge is the same as was charged in the original complaint filed on Monday, Nov. 4, 2019.  Count Two charges Holzer with attempted arson, and Count Three charges Holzer with using fire or an explosive device to commit a felony offense.

Holzer is currently in federal custody.  He is scheduled to appear before a U.S. Magistrate Judge on Monday, Nov. 25 where he will be advised of the charges contained in the indictment, and arraigned on the charges.  If convicted, Holzer faces a maximum penalty of 50 years in prison.

Assistant United States Attorney Julia Martinez and Trial Attorney Michael J. Songer of the Civil Rights Division are prosecuting the case, with assistance from Counterterrorism Section Trial Attorney Erin Creegan of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. The FBI conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Pueblo Police Department and Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office.

The charges contained in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law. 

Topic(s): 
Civil Rights
National Security
Press Release Number: 
19-1295
Updated November 22, 2019