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Holocaust Museum Shooter Indicted on First-Degree Murder

Other Counts Include Related Hate Crime, Gun Violations

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Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 29, 2009; 3:08 PM

James von Brunn was indicted Wednesday in the fatal shooting last month of a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

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Von Brunn, 89, of Annapolis was charged in a seven-count indictment with the killing of Stephen T. Johns, who was providing security at the museum June 10. Von Brunn, an admitted white supremacist, is accused of shooting Johns as the guard opened the door for him. Other guards returned fire, wounding von Brunn in the face.

So far, von Brunn has been too ill to appear in court, according to his attorney and federal prosecutors. In early July, von Brunn was able to speak occasionally but was "under constant care of the nurses and doctors" in a secure ward for D.C. jail inmates at United Medical Center, according to A.J. Kramer, his attorney.

The six-page indictment says that von Brunn "willfully, deliberately, maliciously, and with premeditation" shot Johns. Von Brunn was charged in the indictment with first-degree murder and related hate crime and gun violations.

Von Brunn could face life in prison if convicted on the charges, but four counts in the indictment make him eligible for the death penalty if the Justice Department and prosecutors choose to seek it, federal prosecutors said.

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