DENVER – Five congregants of Temple Emanuel came from Pueblo to a Denver courtroom to see the man accused of intending to destroy their place of worship – and for him to see them.
They wore Temple Emanuel T-shirts so Richard Holzer would know they were there in the federal court where brief hearings were held Monday for the case against him.
"I wanted to see who he really is," temple president Michael Atlas-Acuna told reporters outside the federal courthouse afterward.
Rabbi Birdie Becker said she wanted Holzer "to see we're here, we're strong, we're not going anywhere, we're not afraid."
In the courtroom, public defender Mary Butterton entered a not guilty plea for Holzer, who did not speak.
He is charged with three crimes: attempted arson of the 119-year-old temple, using fire and explosives to commit a federal felony, and attempting to obstruct the free exercise of religious beliefs through force and attempted use of explosives and fire.
The FBI arrested Holzer late on Nov. 1 at a Pueblo motel and said he intended to blow it up before dawn on Nov. 2.
An FBI affidavit stated its undercover agent previously had convinced him they were sympathetic to his anti-Jewish and white-supremacist views and would help him. The agents brought two phony pipe bombs and 14 phony sticks of dynamite to the motel meeting with him.
"There are voluminous audio and video recordings" of Holzer that the FBI made, said prosecutor Julia Martinez of the U.S. Attorney's Office for Colorado.
She and Butterton told U.S. District Judge Raymond Moore that there would be lengthy pre-trial litigation before they are ready to go to trial. Moore is presiding over the case.
Holzer, 27, focused his attention toward the area of the courtroom where the temple congregants and observers were seated. He was emotionless.
Atlas-Acuna disclosed to reporters that $11,000 of donations have been received for a new "high-tech" security system.
The bomb plot "brought the whole community together," the rabbi said. "We're hearing from all different faiths."
Three days before Thanksgiving Day, "We're thankful for the police, the FBI and the community,"Atlas-Acuna said.