The prosecution advanced its argument that the nation’s deadliest antisemitic attack was motivated by mental illness as the federal trial for the man who brutally murdered 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue neared its conclusion on Friday.
In June, 63 criminal charges against 50-year-old truck driver Robert Bowers from the Baldwin suburb were found to be true for the 2018 shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue.
The jury will determine whether Bowers will be sentenced to death or life in prison without the possibility of release after hearing testimony in the trial’s punishment phase.
Bowers opened fire at the synagogue on October 27, 2018, killing members of three congregations who had congregated there for Sabbath worship and study. According to the evidence given by the prosecution, Bowers was motivated by his hatred of Jews at the time.
According to the defense, Bowers suffers from schizophrenia and acted based on the delusion that Jews were committing the extermination of white people.
According to a defense psychiatrist who met with Bowers ten times over the course of nearly 40 hours on Friday, Bowers believed that he was a soldier of God engaged in a battle against Satan, who was attempting to end the world by using Jews.
It was a delusion brought on by psychosis, according to Raleigh, North Carolina, doctor George Corvin. Corvin claimed that Bowers is incapable of feeling regret and that he continues to espouse erroneous opinions against Jews that are “disgustingly so.
He advised Bowers to take an antipsychotic drug. According to Corvin’s testimony, Bowers “has a belief that we’re at the end of a war that’s been going on for thousands of years.
He continues to see what he did as a regrettable act of violence carried out under the guidance of God.
This is the effect of a mental disorder, Corvin continued. Corvin was one of several defense experts who determined that Bowers had schizophrenia, a dangerous mental condition characterized by hallucinations and delusions.
In testimony for the prosecution, a neurologist disagreed that Bowers has schizophrenia, asserting that he has a personality issue but is not delusional and that the attack did not seem to be motivated by mental illness.
According to the prosecution, Bowers planned the shooting for six months. Friday’s testimony also included Bowers’ aunt and uncle. He claimed to see Bowers in prison because “he is my nephew and I love him,” adding that he prays for Bowers every morning.
Patricia Fine, the aunt, was anticipated to be the last defense witness. She claimed that Bowers had a challenging upbringing and characterized the home he grew up in as dangerous. She claimed that he was a depressed youngster and that she “was convinced” he would commit suicide.
An earlier defense expert had characterized Bowers’ early years as being markedly disordered and claimed that during his adolescent years, he made many suicide attempts. Monday was set aside for the continuation of Fine’s testimony, with closing remarks and jury deliberations to follow.