Stephen Hillman, the magistrate presiding over the federal arraignment, assigned the murder case to veteran federal Judge Richard Paez, with a tentative trial date of Oct. 12.
Furrow, clad in an orange prison jumpsuit and wearing eyeglasses, stood between his public defenders, Sean Kennedy and Marilyn Bednarski. He quietly answered "yes" when asked if he understood his rights and had read the indictment against him.
"We don't intend to enter a plea at this time," Kennedy told the magistrate.
"The court will enter a plea of not guilty," Hillman responded. That is not an unusual procedure.
Furrow's hands were handcuffed in front of him throughout the hearing. He did not look at the audience, which included the sisters and a nephew of postal worker Joseph Ileto, who was shot to death on Aug. 10.
The government could add hate crimes allegations that would encompass the wounding of five people, including three children, the same day at the Jewish Community Center in suburban Granada Hills.
Furrow allegedly told the FBI he targeted the center earlier this month as "a wake-up call to America to kill Jews." He also reportedly said that he murdered Ileto because he was nonwhite and a government employee.
A federal grand jury indicted Furrow for murder of an on-duty federal employee as well as for use of a firearm in a violent crime causing death. Conviction on either count could mean the death penalty.
In addition, Furrow was indicted for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Furrow turned himself in to the FBI in Las Vegas the day after the shootings.
Legal experts expect Furrow's public defenders to mount a defense of insanity or diminished capacity, reports CBS News Correspondent David Dow.
Furrow had tried to check himself into a mental hospital near Seattle last year but wound up pulling a knife on staff members and went to jail for second-degree assault.