A Miami Beach man accused of plotting to set an apartment building on fire, stockpiling containers of gasoline and reportedly telling residents he wanted to "kill all Jews" in the process is now facing upgraded hate crime charges, prosecutors announced Thursday.
Walter Stolper, 72, is now facing one count of attempted first-degree murder with a deadly weapon with prejudice in addition to attempted arson and possession of a destructive device. Stolper has pled not guilty to the charges, which carry a penalty of life in prison if convicted.
"At this time we enter a plea of not guilty, demand discovery and demand a trial by jury," Stolper's attorney, Gustavo Lage, said Thursday.
Stolper was arrested last month after a neighbor at 5601 Collins Avenue in Miami Beach alerted the police saying Stolper was going to set the building on fire and "kill all Jews." Stolper had just received an eviction notice, police said.
Detectives spotted Stolper moving gas containers in a shopping cart at the building and found gasoline in the building’s trash chute coming from the 15th floor. Police also found a storage room rented by Stolper with 26 containers of gasoline, potassium nitrate and sulfur. Stolper allegedly also had Nazi-themed books and swastikas in his apartment.
"I’m not sure about his competence. I met with him on various occasions and given my discussions with him without getting into further detail it warrants a psychiatric evaluation, he’s even being held on a psych ward," Lage said.