Evidence presented at the federal death penalty prosecution of the shooter who massacred 11 worshipers at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Tuesday shows that before the 2018 incident, the man frequently spoke on social media about his hatred of Jews.
When Robert Bowers opened fire at the Tree of Life Synagogue during Sabbath services and perpetrated the worst antisemitic attack in American history, prosecutors are attempting to prove he was driven by strong animosity toward Jews.
The 50-year-old truck driver is accused of 63 offenses, including obstruction of the free exercise of religion that resulted in death and hate crimes.
Some of the charges might result in the death penalty.
As the trial entered its third week, the focus of the testimony shifted to Bowers’ use of the far-right-favored social media site Gab to spread his antisemitic ideas.
According to hundreds of samples shown to the jury on Monday and Tuesday, Bowers’ Gab profile stated “Jews are the children of Satan,” and he posted, liked, or shared a torrent of virulently antisemitic information.
According to a post reviewed by an FBI agent, Bowers referred to Jews as “public enemy number one,” talked favorably of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi genocide of Jews, and posted a picture with the caption “The only good Jew is a dead Jew.”
Bowers blogged about HIAS, a Jewish organization that aids refugees in resettling in the United States, on the morning of the assault.
One of the three congregations that occupied the Tree of Life building, Dor Hadash, collaborated with HIAS.
“HIAS enjoys sending in intruders who murder our citizens. I can’t stand by and see my people annihilated.
“Fuck your optics, I’m in,” Bowers said on Facebook.
Bowers’ attorneys have conceded that he was the gunman but are attempting to cast doubt on his motivation in an effort to save his life.
The defense has argued that rather than acting out of religious hatred, he was driven by the idea that Jews were facilitating genocide by aiding immigrant journeys to the United States.
Survivors have already described the panic they felt as Bowers stormed the synagogue and shot anyone he could find.
Police officers have previously described engaging Bowers in gunfire before the latter surrendered after being shot three times. During the attack, seven individuals were hurt, including five police officers.