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Lawyers for Pittsburgh Synagogue Gunman Argue He Is Mentally Ill

By 06/26/2023 7:54 PMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff

In an effort to urge jurors to spare his life, the gunman convicted in the bloodiest anti-Semitic massacre in American history claimed to have schizophrenic, delusional, and paranoid symptoms that prevented him from being able to “read the world appropriately” or make wise judgments.

On the first day of the punishment phase of Robert Bowers’ federal trial, defense attorney Michael Burt argued that Bowers had a history of suicide attempts, severe brain damage, and a psychotic disorder that had existed from childhood.

This month, Bowers was found guilty of the 2018 murders of 11 worshipers at a Pittsburgh synagogue. The death penalty is what the prosecution wants.

The defense claims that Bowers lacked the necessary level of intent for the jury to find him worthy of the death penalty. According to Burt, medical examinations revealed that Bowers’ brain was “structurally deficient,” exhibiting signs of epilepsy and schizophrenia.

In his opening remarks on Monday, prosecutor Troy Rivetti stated that the government was ready to refute any argument relating to mental health.

Rivetti stated that on October 27, 2018, Bowers “clearly formed the intent to kill everyone he could find” in Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue. He referred to Bowers’ atrocities as being of astonishing scale.

The prosecution declared, “He came to kill.” 11 innocent worshipers were slain by the defendant when he entered the Tree of Life synagogue, a revered location for gathering and prayer.

Bowers showed no sign of paying attention to the attorneys’ arguments as he flipped through documents. He hasn’t reacted much to the trial thus yet.

The sentencing phase of Bowers’ trial takes place as the 2024 presidential election has made the death penalty a more salient issue.

Before former President Donald Trump’s administration resumed executions in 2020 after a 17-year break, the federal death penalty wasn’t a particularly controversial topic.

In his last months in office, Trump presided over 13 federal executions, the most of any president in more than 120 years.

Eleven members of three synagogues — Dor Hadash, New Light, and Tree of Life — had gathered for Sabbath services in the center of Pittsburgh’s Jewish community when Bowers, a 50-year-old truck driver from the suburb of Baldwin, shot and murdered them. In addition, he injured five police officers and two worshipers.

On June 16, following five hours of deliberations, the jury found Bowers guilty on all 63 charges. The same jury will now determine whether Bowers is deserving of the death punishment or not.

First, the prosecution must provide evidence of purpose and at least one aggravating circumstance that rendered the murders more terrible.



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bobby bracros

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