PUEBLO, Colo. -- The Pueblo man accused of trying to carry out a terrorist attack on a local synagogue was back in Federal court this week. He pleaded not guilty to the list of charges.
Richard Holzer, 27, was arrested earlier this month for planning to destroy the state's second-oldest Jewish temple. Congregants traveled to Denver Monday to see the man for themselves. They also wanted to be there to show that this would-be attack has not made them afraid. If anything, it has made them stronger.
When Michael Atlas-Acuña, the president of Temple Emanuel, entered Denver Federal court with four other congregants, they wanted to make sure Holzer would see them.
"We all had our Temple Emanuel blue shirts on so we were very noticeable," Atlas-Acuña says.
It worked. Hozler did notice them. His reaction is something Atlas-Acuña remembers vividly.
"I did make eye contact with him," Atlas-Acuña says. "We just stared at each other and he kind of smirked, but I don't think he had any remorse."
He says it was the same smirk seen in Holzer's mugshot. Atlas-Acuña still wonders how anyone could plan an attack that would hurt so many.
"how does somebody that young be so angry?" he asked.
Since Holzer's arrest for an alleged plan to bomb and destroy Temple Emanuel, a ripple of fear has spread through some in the Jewish community.
"It's so scary to think that hate, not just hate, but the hate that wants to destroy, found your little temple and wants you gone," says Ellyn Annegeisel, a congregant of Temple Emanuel.
However, national attention came with an outpouring of support. Atlas-Acuña says they have received more than $11,000 from well-wishers across the nation. That money will now go toward a new state-of-the-art security system.
As for forgiving Holzer for his alleged plan, Atlas-Acuña says, "We'll forgive him when he asks for forgiveness, but we are not in the business of just forgiving people who have tried to harm us."
But with Holzer's plea of not guilty, Atlas-Acuña doesn't think he will be asking for forgiveness anytime soon.
As for future appearances, this is Federal court, meaning we won't be given permission to bring our cameras inside. However, we were told that upcoming sessions will feature video and audio evidence of Holzer planning the alleged attack.