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US

Not guilty plea entered for avowed supremacist in killing of postal worker

Furrow
Furrow's plea entered at Monday's arraignment deals only with the Ileto murder  

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iconMESSAGE BOARD:
Hate Crimes


In this story:

No eye contact with victim's family

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LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- A plea of not guilty was entered Monday for avowed white supremacist Buford Furrow Jr. at his arraignment on federal charges of murdering Philippine-American postal worker Joseph Ileto shortly after a shooting spree at a Jewish community center near Los Angeles.

With Ileto's family in the courtroom, a magistrate assigned the murder case to federal Judge Richard Paez, with a tentative trial date of October 12.

Paez will set the formal date.

Furrow, 37, clad in an orange prison jumpsuit and wearing eyeglasses, stood between his public defenders, Sean Kennedy and Marilyn Bednarski. He quietly answered "yes" when asked if he understood his rights and had read the indictment against him.

No eye contact with victim's family

"We don't intend to enter a plea at this time," Kennedy told magistrate Stephen Hillman,

"The court will enter a plea of not guilty," Hillman responded.

Furrow's hands were handcuffed in front of him throughout the hearing. He did not look at the audience, which included Ileto's sisters and a nephew.

Authorities say Furrow confessed to shooting Ileto because the postal worker was not white and worked for the federal government. Furrow is charged with murder, using a firearm in a crime of violence and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

After trial on the federal charges -- two of which carry a possible death sentence -- Furrow will face state charges in California of murder, attempted murder and carjacking.

Although Monday's arraignment was only for Ileto's killing, the government could add hate crimes allegations that would encompass the August 10 shooting that wounded five people at the Jewish Community Center in suburban Granada Hills.

Prosecutors say Furrow walked into the center and began firing randomly, wounding three young boys, a teen-age girl and a 68-year-old grandmother working as a receptionist.

Authorities say he then drove to the suburb of Chatsworth. There he allegedly approached Ileto, asked about mailing letters, drew a gun and shot the postal worker to death.

A day later, Furrow showed up in Las Vegas where he turned himself in.



RELATED STORIES:
Feds charge Jewish Center shootings suspect with killing postman
August 19, 1999
Transcripts of 911 calls from L.A. shooting released
August 18, 1999
Children and adults overcome fears at Los Angeles Jewish center
August 16, 1999
Postal worker Joseph Ileto mourned as President Clinton sends condolences
August 15, 1999

RELATED SITES:
California Dept. of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigation
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