NEW YORK (Oct. 4)
A 15-year-old youth, one of two accused of vandalizing and burning a Brooklyn synagogue last month, will be tried as an adult, it was announced here Monday.
This means that the suspect, Louis Franceschi, who has been indicted by a grand jury, will stand trial in state Supreme Court, instead of Family Court, where juveniles are normally tried.
He also will face more severe punishment if convicted.
Franceschi was arraigned in Supreme Court on Monday. He is charged with second-degree burglary, second-degree criminal mischief and first-degree reckless endangerment, all felonies, and with two misdemeanors.
Franceschi pleaded not guilty and was ordered held on $10,000 bail by Justice Richard Goldberg.
The indictment charges that on the night of Sept. 16, during the period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Franceschi and a companion broke into Congregation Rabbinical Institute Sharai Torah, an Orthodox synagogue in the Midwood section of Brooklyn.
They spray-painted swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti, removed the congregation’s Torahs from the ark and set them on fire.
Franceschi’s 11-year-old companion was not identified because of his age. His case will be heard in Family Court.
If found guilty of the burglary charge, Franceschi could be sentenced to between 28 months and seven years in prison.
Brooklyn District Attorney Elizabeth Holtzman, who announced the indictment, warned that “crimes of hatred or bigotry of any kind must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”