Suspect Pleads Not Guilty In Santa Monica Synagogue Blast

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A homeless man accused of setting off an explosive device outside a Santa Monica synagogue last month pleaded not guilty Monday to four federal felony charges.

KNX 1070’s John Brooks Reports

Ron Hirsch, 60, is accused of planting explosives inside a 250-pound piece of concrete and steel pipe that blasted into the air on April 7, striking the side of Chabad House and damaging a nearby house.

Authorities say Hirsh fled by bus and was taken into custody in Cleveland four days later.

Hirsch was charged with one count each of explosion with intent to murder, use of a destructive device and explosive to injure or destroy, possession of a destructive device near a public place and possession of a destructive device near a residence.

If convicted as charged, he would face a mandatory minimum sentence of 45 years in federal prison. The maximum is 70 years, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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