The Suspect In The Pueblo Synagogue Plot Will Remain In Jail

Jason R Dunn, Dean Phillips, Troy Davenport, r m
David Zalubowski/AP
Chief Troy Davenport, of the Pueblo, Colo., Police Department, front left, makes a point as Jason R. Dunn, U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado, back left, and Dean Phillips, FBI special agent in charge, look on during a news conference in Denver Monday, Nov. 4, 2019, to annouce the arrest of a man who repeatedly espoused anti-Semitic views in a plot to bomb a historic Colorado synagogue in Pueblo.

A man arrested on suspicion of plotting to bomb a historic Colorado synagogue waived his right to have the evidence against him aired in court Friday and will remain behind bars for now.

Richard Holzer, 27, wore a yellow jail jumpsuit with his arms and legs shackled during a brief court appearance in federal court. His public defender, Mary Butterton, told Judge Magistrate Kristen Mix that Holzer did not want to fight his detention but said he may decide to later.

El Paso County Sheriff's Office
Richard Holzer's mugshot.

Holzer was arrested Nov. 1 after the FBI said he accepted what turned out to be phony explosives from undercover agents to bomb Temple Emanuel in Pueblo. In court documents, an FBI investigator claims that Holzer repeatedly said he was ready to go ahead with the attack the following day.

Butterton declined to comment on the allegations after the hearing.

A court affidavit by FBI Agent John Smith detailing the allegations says an undercover agent began talking to Holzer on Facebook in September after he allegedly promoted white supremacy and violence on several accounts, expressing his wish to kill Jews, Hispanics and pedophiles.

According to the document, on Oct. 13 Holzer allegedly told another undercover agent the Facebook agent connected him with that he wanted to poison the synagogue's water supply with arsenic, something he claims to have previously done but which could not be corroborated by investigators.

That agent arranged for him to meet with friends who were actually more undercover agents on Oct. 17 in Colorado Springs. He allegedly talked to them about his plan before volunteering that he could use Molotov cocktails on the building when asked what other methods he was considering to shut down the building.

The FBI claims that Holzer was the first person to mention using explosives during the meeting. After they visited the synagogue later that day, the affidavit says Holzer observed that Molotov cocktails would not be enough, and he and the agents then discussed using pipe bombs, which the agents offered to supply.

On Oct. 31, the agents delivered the explosives to Holzer, who allegedly said they should carry out the attack overnight to avoid the police.

After his arrest, Holzer allegedly told the FBI he had not planned to hurt anyone but would have gone ahead with the attack if there was someone there because anyone inside would be Jewish.