PUEBLO, Colo. (CBS4) – The Colorado man who pleaded guilty in a plot to firebomb a Jewish synagogue in Pueblo was sentenced on Friday. Richard Holzer was sentenced to 19-and-a-half years in prison.

Richard Holzer (credit: CBS)

Richard Holzer (credit: CBS)

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Last fall, Holzer pleaded guilty to obstruction of exercise of religion and attempted arson using fire and explosives.

Temple Emanuel was the intended target, but federal agents infiltrated Holzer’s operation in 2019 and disrupted the plans. They said Holzer, a known white supremacist, wanted to drive the Jewish people out of Pueblo. Unsealed federal court documents revealed the FBI became aware that he made racist, anti-Semitic and threatening statements on social media prior to launching his plot.

Temple Emanuel in Pueblo

(credit: CBS)

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The undercover agents showed him a pipe bomb made inert that he was told was filled with dynamite and he replied, “Absolutely gorgeous.”

U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn, on his last working day in the position, called the sentence, “a step forward in the ongoing fight against extremism.”

The Anti-Defamation League Mountain States Region released this statement: Today’s sentencing brings some closure to an incident that caused pain and fear in Pueblo’s Jewish community, as well as alarm and concern for all Jews in Colorado and across the country. It is especially important that Richard Holzer was convicted and charged for a federal hate crime. Antisemitism is on the rise in Colorado and across the country. Today’s sentencing sends a strong and clear message that hate and violence targeted at people because of their religion, race, national origin, sexual orientation or any other defining characteristic will not be tolerated.

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We extend gratitude to the Pueblo Police Department, Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office, FBI and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado for their tireless efforts on this case. We also recognize and commend the leaders and members of Temple Emanuel Synagogue for their strength and resilience.

Rick Sallinger