A Contra Costa County judge ruled this week there is enough evidence to try Ross Farca, a 24-year-old Concord man who used the internet to share detailed fantasies about killing Jews, on six criminal counts. Five are felonies.
Police say they found an illegal AR-15–style assault rifle, high-capacity magazines and other weapons accessories in his bedroom while serving a search warrant in June of 2019.
“He was daring somebody to report him,” Dana Filkowski, deputy district attorney for the county, said Tuesday during closing arguments of a preliminary hearing. An account on the website Steam linked to Farca boasting about having an AR-15 weapon that could be converted into a machine gun.
“We found he was moving from words to action,” Filkowski said.
The ruling by Superior Court Judge Nancy Davis Stark was a crucial step in the criminal proceedings, which were delayed after Farca’s arrest in November 2019 on a separate, federal charge for lying to the U.S. Army. Farca pled guilty to that offense in April.
Though Farca was charged with seven criminal counts in Contra Costa County, Stark upheld only six. One, pertaining to criminal threats made against “people of the Jewish faith,” she deemed “overbroad” and tossed out, interpreting the statute to mean threats targeting specific people.
Prosecutors added a different charge, a misdemeanor for violation of civil rights of “Jewish people,” that the judge upheld. The criminal complaint alleges Farca did unlawfully “intimidate, interfere with, oppress and threaten” Jews.
The five felony charges are related to the illegal possession and manufacturing of an assault weapon, and alleged death threats made to a Concord detective.
Stark’s ruling followed days of witness testimony spread out over weeks at the A.F. Bray Courthouse in Martinez, held under strict social distancing protocols, with witnesses testifying behind a plastic barrier. Filkowsky presented evidence, at times jarring and disturbing, of posts linked to Farca’s Steam account, such as one referring to Lori Gilbert Kaye, who was killed during the 2019 Chabad of Poway shooting, as a “60-year-old kike bitch.”
Filkowsky also showed the courtroom head-mounted video camera footage of the 2019 mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand. A computer forensics detective testified that the video was saved on Farca’s computer along with the shooter’s 74-page manifesto, “The Great Replacement.”
Among the witnesses who testified was Debbie Kirsch, the executive director of Temple Isaiah in Lafayette, in an effort to show that Farca’s alleged threats terrorized the Jewish community. Kirsch said the synagogue spent about $300,000 on private security since learning of Farca’s arrest and the details of the allegations in 2019.
Concord police officer Glenn Provost testified to entering the home Farca shares with his mother and grandmother to serve a search warrant in June 2019. In Farca’s bedroom, Provost said, he found an assault rifle hidden “under linens” on the top bunk of a bunk bed, and high-capacity magazines “in the gap between the bed and the wall.”
The search warrant was issued after an anonymous tipster alerted the FBI about the online posts, which referred to Jews as “subhumans” and imagined a mass shooting carried out with maximum effect. Elsewhere the account showed a fascination with Nazism, using racial slurs and “Adolf Hitler” in its username.
“I currently own an AR15 semi auto rifle but I can buy/make the auto sear and get the M15 parts kit,” read one of the posts from a June 4, 2019 conversation. An “auto sear” is an accessory that turns a semi-automatic rifle into an automatic weapon.
“What do you think of me doing what [Poway shooter] John Earnest tried to do, but with a Nazi uniform, an unregistered and illegally converted ‘machine gun’ and actually livestreaming it with Nazi music?” the post read. “I would get a body count of like 30 kikes and then like 5 police officers because I would also decide to fight to the death.”
Described by one of his lawyers as intelligent, Farca has shown a fascination with, and sophisticated knowledge of, the military and firearms, and briefly joined the Army in 2017. Police said they found more than 100 books in his bedroom, many of them about World War II.
Farca has autism, obsessive compulsive disorder and other disabilities, his lawyers have said. At one point during the preliminary hearing, he appeared confused after Stark asked him to return to the courtroom at 3 p.m. following a break. “What time zone?” he asked.
Throughout the hearing, Farca’s attorney, Joseph Tully, stressed that Farca’s “mind works differently” than others and that he never intended to carry out any of the threats he made online. “He was LARPing,” Tully said, referring to “live-action role playing.”
After Farca’s most recent arrest for threatening a police officer, Stark revoked bail, sending Farca back to jail where he remains in custody at the Martinez Detention Facility. “I believe he is dangerous,” she said.
An arraignment was scheduled for Nov. 10 in Contra Costa County.