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The shooter who killed 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue has been found to be eligible for the death penalty

By 07/13/2023 11:13 AMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff


A federal jury ruled on Thursday that the shooter who killed 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018 is deserving of the death penalty, setting the scene for additional evidence and testimony regarding whether he should receive a death or life sentence.

Robert Bowers, who launched an online tirade against Jews before assaulting the Tree of Life synagogue with an AR-15 rifle and other weapons in the country’s bloodiest antisemitic incident, is facing the death penalty, according to the authorities.

The jury came to the same conclusion as the prosecution: Bowers had established the necessary lawful intent to kill.

Bowers spent six months preparing the massacre and has subsequently voiced remorse that he didn’t kill more people.

Bowers’ legal team claimed that his mental instability and the idea that killing Jews would halt a genocide of white people damaged his capacity to create intent.

The focus of the testimony is now anticipated to shift to how Bowers’ atrocities affected survivors and the loved ones of the victims.

On October 27, 2018, Bowers, 50, a truck driver from the Baldwin suburb, massacred individuals from three congregations who had assembled at the Tree of Life synagogue.

In addition, he injured five police officers and two worshipers. Bowers was found guilty of 63 offenses, including obstruction of the free exercise of religion that resulted in death and hate crimes that resulted in death, last month.

His defenders proposed a guilty plea in exchange for a life sentence, but the prosecution declined, choosing to go to trial and seek the death penalty instead. The majority of the victims’ relatives agreed with that choice.

It would be the first federal death sentence enacted during Joe Biden’s presidency if jurors believe Bowers deserves to die. Although Biden ran his campaign on a promise to abolish the death penalty, federal prosecutors still seek it in some circumstances.

The trial of Bowers entered its penalty phase on June 26. Mental health specialists for both sides disagreed on whether Bowers has schizophrenia, delusions, or brain problems that contributed to the rampage, and the jury heard weeks’ worth of technical testimony regarding his psychiatric and neurological conditions.

Before the 2018 attack, Bowers railed on social media constantly about his hatred of Jews and told police at the scene that “all these Jews need to die.” He later revealed this to psychologists who interviewed him, including as recently as last year.

Now that Bowers is being sentenced, the proceedings are expected to become more emotional as the jury learns about the suffering and trauma he caused to worshippers in the center of Pittsburgh’s Jewish neighborhood.

The defense will submit mitigating evidence that might persuade jurors to spare Bowers’ life, while the prosecution will present information regarding further aggravating circumstances, such as the fact that the victims were elderly and Bowers’ rampage was driven by religious hatred.

His family’s cries could be part of the defense’s case. Jurors will need to unanimously decide that the aggravating circumstances exceed the mitigating circumstances in order to sentence him to death.


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