San Bernardino Shooter's Neighbor Enrique Marquez Pleads Not Guilty

PHOTO: A courtroom sketch depicts Enrique Marquez, a neighbor and friend of one of the San Bernardino shooters, appearing in court on Dec. 17, 2015.Mona Shafer Edwards
A courtroom sketch depicts Enrique Marquez, a neighbor and friend of one of the San Bernardino shooters, appearing in court on Dec. 17, 2015.

Enrique Marquez, the neighbor of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook, pleaded not guilty to all five charges against him at his arraignment hearing in court today. A trial date has been set for Feb. 23.

Marquez wore an all-white prison jumpsuit with his feet shackled and his hands handcuffed. Judge Sherri Pym oversaw the case. He spoke a few times saying "yes your honor" when asked if he understood his rights and received a copy of the indictment. When asked how he'd like to plead, he replied "not guilty." His mother was there today, but did not sit in the same courtroom.

Marquez stands accused of plotting with San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook to conduct two terror attacks in late 2011 or 2012, making so-called "straw purchases" of two assault rifles around the same time on behalf of Farook that were later used in the San Bernardino attack and, later, entering into a "sham" marriage with a woman who is a member of Farook's extended family.

The charges came last month after Marquez was interrogated by the FBI for 10 days following the San Bernardino terror attack earlier this month that claimed 14 lives. Authorities say Farook and his wife-turned-accomplice, Pakistani national Tashfeen Malik, were responsible for that attack and they appeared to have been inspired by terrorist groups like al Qaeda and ISIS. Farook and Malik were killed by police hours after the Dec. 2 mass murder.

Marquez was not charged in connection with the San Bernardino attack beyond the alleged purchase years ago of the two assault-style rifles used in the shooting by Farook and Malik.

In a dramatic 911 call hours after the shooting, Marquez told the emergency operator he was considering killing himself, according to an FBI affidavit filed in a criminal complaint last week.

“My neighbor, he did the San Bernardino shooting,” Marquez purportedly said, according to a transcript of the call in the complaint. “He was the shooter… F****** a****** used my gun in the shooting… They can trace all the guns back to me.”

Marquez told the operator he had given Farook the gun “only for safe storage” because he couldn’t have it at home with his little brothers around, the court documents say.

Friends described Marquez as a nice, but hapless young man who loved punk rock. The affidavit says Farook taught him about Islam and Marquez converted in 2007. Farook later exposed him to extremists beliefs like those of the late American al Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.