By Robert Boczkiewicz, La Junta Tribune-Democrat
DENVER — The trial date for the man accused of intending to blow up Pueblo’s historic Temple Emanuel has been pushed back again and he is not likely to use an insanity defense.
Those two developments emerged last week in Denver at the U.S. District Court for Colorado where Richard Holzer is changed with three crimes stemming from his alleged plot.
Judge Raymond Moore set Feb. 22 as the new trial date. The Pueblo Chieftain reported in March that the judge at that time had continued the trial date from July 13 to Nov. 12.
The judge, at a hearing last week, reset the trial date as the result of allowing Holzer's defense attorneys more time to prepare his case.
One of his attorneys, Mary Butterton, told the judge that Holzer's mental competency is "not an issue we anticipate (raising)." She is a federal public defender
Moore set aside five days for the trial.
Holzer, 27, is charged with three crimes: attempt to obstruct persons in the enjoyment of their free exercise of religious beliefs through force and the attempted use of explosives and fire, attempted arson of the 119-year-old building, and use of fire and explosives to commit a federal felony.
The FBI arrested Holzer late on Nov. 1 at a Pueblo motel and said he intended blow up Temple Emanuel before dawn Nov. 2.
An FBI affidavit said Holzer’s social media postings showed he had expressed hostility toward Jewish people.
Holzer attended last week's hearing by videoconferencing from a jail in the Denver area where he is in federal custody.
At the hearing, the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia Martinez, did not oppose Butterton's request for more time to work on defending Holzer.
"I don't think I have a choice (except to grant Butterton 90 more days)," the judge said. He said she had adequately justified her request.
He emphasized, however, that he is unlikely to grant any more delays.
The defense attorney has received from Martinez thousands of pages of documents, and many hours of recordings of Holzer, that the government has as evidence. Butterton said she has had preparation delays in conferring with potential witnesses due to COVID-19 travel limitations.
Without the requested continuance the defense will be unable to adequately prepare the case, conduct a complete investigation, or file appropriate motions, defender Butterton told the judge.