In a case that is being followed closely by Jewish groups and interfaith leaders, prosecutors in Contra Costa County will appear before a Superior Court judge next month and argue that there is enough evidence to try Ross Farca, a 24-year-old accused of threatening a mass shooting targeting Jews and assembling an illegal assault rifle in his Concord home.
Farca allegedly used the screen name “Adolf Hitler (((6 MILLION)))” on the gaming network Steam, and last year posted details about a hypothetical Poway-style shooting streamed live over the internet.
A preliminary hearing, sometimes called an evidentiary hearing or a probable cause hearing, is where prosecutors lay out evidence for a judge to determine whether there is probable cause to proceed to a criminal trial. The preliminary hearing will begin Aug. 11 at 8:45 a.m. at the Superior Court in Martinez. The judge currently assigned is Judge Theresa Canepa.
Since Farca’s arrest last June, interfaith leaders and interested Jewish community members have been in contact with the district attorney’s office, encouraging an aggressive prosecution. The Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County sent a representative to hearings last year and is monitoring developments in the case. The regional office of the Anti-Defamation League, based in San Francisco, has been on alert and in “close communication” with federal and state law enforcement agencies since Farca’s arrest. And a group of concerned citizens at Rossmoor, a gated community in nearby Walnut Creek, has been attending hearings and updating each other on Facebook pages and email listservs.
“We understand that people are very interested in this case,” said Matt Malone, public information office for the Superior Court.
The district attorney’s office recently announced a shake-up in the prosecution team. Deputy District Attorney Whitnee Goins had been the lead prosecutor, presenting arguments at bail hearings and other proceedings since Farca’s arrest a year ago. But in an email July 14, the district attorney’s office informed J. that Goins has been replaced by Deputy District Attorney Kyle McCauley.
An audio livestream will be set up for members of the public who want to listen to the hearing; it can be accessed on the Superior Court’s website. Inside the courtroom, masks will be required, and social distancing will limit capacity. The court is currently open for criminal proceedings, but that is subject to change due to the pandemic.
J. will continue to update details, including the location of the hearing and any other changes.