Skip to main content
Jewish NewsLatest NewsPolitics

Intentional Death Penalty or Life Sentence for Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre Gunman from Jury

By 07/31/2023 8:40 PMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff


A jury will decide whether to sentence a man who preached antisemitic hatred before killing 11 worshipers at a synagogue in the center of Pittsburgh’s Jewish community to death or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The sentencing phase of 50-year-old Robert Bowers’ federal trial was held on Monday, nearly five years after the truck driver from the suburban Baldwin area carried out the worst massacre of Jews in American history.

The same jurors who found him guilty on 63 criminal counts in June listened to closing statements.

When Bowers entered the Tree of Life synagogue on October 27, 2018, he desecrated a house of worship by shooting everyone he could find with an AR-15 rifle.

The prosecutor reminded jurors that Bowers had boasted on social media about his hatred of Jews, using a term for them 400 times on a platform popular with the far right.

Bowers also expressed his pride in having slain Jews, the prosecutor said. “Do not ignore it. Keep in mind what it means.

“This defendant singled out people based solely on the faith they selected,” Olshan stated. “This case calls for the most severe punishment allowed by law: the death penalty,” he continued. Later on Monday, the defense was anticipated to make its final statement.

Bowers’ attorneys contend that he suffers from schizophrenia, a severe brain disorder characterized by delusions and hallucinations, and that he attacked the synagogue because of the delusional idea that Jews were assisting refugees and immigrants in a genocide of white people.

Additionally, the defense has provided proof of Bowers’ trying upbringing. Olshan questioned the defense specialists’ schizophrenia diagnosis, claiming Bowers was not experiencing psychosis but had instead chosen to believe speech promoting white supremacy.

Bowers was undoubtedly a depressed, abandoned youngster, but Olshan reduced the relevance of that fact by pointing out that Bowers had held jobs, made payments on his debts, and was otherwise a normal adult.

He was an adult; he wasn’t a child. He was accountable for his acts, not for those of his family or for events that occurred many years ago.

He was, and he still is, accountable for his deeds, Olshan added. Jurors must decide that the aggravating circumstances, which make the conduct exceptionally terrible, outweigh the mitigating circumstances, which could be seen as lessening his culpability, in order to impose the death penalty.

These aggravating factors can include Bowers’ preference for Jewish people and the frailty of his elderly and disabled victims.

Olshan aired a 911 call composite that included audio of individuals being shot and the horrified screams of a survivor that were made from within the synagogue.

“11 people, 11 full lives, 11 people who loved their families, 11 people who loved their friends, 11 people who were loved,” he claimed Bowers had taken. How can the effects of all that loss be quantified? ”

The prosecution spoke of Joyce Fienberg’s 75-year-old concern for her family and Richard Gottfried’s 65-year-old steadfastness in his faith. David Rosenthal, 54, and Cecil Rosenthal, 59, two brothers with intellectual disabilities, “loved life,” according to Olshan, who also claimed that Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, had the mentality of a country doctor: “He loved delivering babies, but he never delivered judgment.” But perhaps above all else, they cherished the Tree of Life.

Rose Mallinger, 97; Bernice Simon, 84; and her husband, Sylvan Simon, 86; Dan Stein, 71; Melvin Wax, 87; and Irving Younger, 69, were the other victims that passed away.

Seven other individuals were hurt in the incident, including five responding police officers. Bowers was wounded three times before giving up when his ammunition ran out.


By providing your phone number, you will receive text message updates from Yid-Info. You can opt out at any time by responding STOP.

bobby bracros

Author bobby bracros

More posts by bobby bracros

Leave a Reply