MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – The Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office has upgraded charges against a Miami Beach man accused of planning to burn down his condominium building and "kill all the Jews" who live there.
Walter Stopler, 72, who had previously been served eviction papers from The Pavilion residences on Collins Avenue, was formally charged Thursday with attempted first-degree murder, arson and possession of a destructive device. Prosecutors also added a hate crime enhancement to the charges.
When police arrested Stopler on July 12, they said he had already started pouring gasoline down the garbage chute.
Police said they found more than two dozen additional containers of gas in a storage room belonging to him, along with sulfuric powder and sodium nitrate -- a chemical used in fireworks and gunpowder.
"That was just a bomb that would have devastated everybody," Diane Cubenas-Serra, who lives in the building, said.
According to authorities, Stopler has previously talked about wanting to "kill all the Jews" in his building. Police said they found Nazi-themed materials in his condo.
Stopler, who has been held without bond, faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if he is convicted.
As for Stopler's condo, the board had already moved to foreclose on his unit and evict him.