Jury Reaches Decision On Penalty For Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooter


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Kate Anderson Contributor
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A jury announced Wednesday that they believed Robert Bowers, who killed 11 people in a targeted attack against Pittsburgh Jews in 2018, should receive the death penalty, according to multiple reports.

A jury determined in July that Bowers was eligible for capital punishment despite his defense team arguing that he suffered from mental disorders that prevented him from understanding the weight of his actions. The jury deliberated for over ten hours during the course of two days before issuing its verdict that Bowers should be put to death for deliberately going after Jewish worshipers at the Tree of Life synagogue, according to various reports. (RELATED: Rashida Tlaib Attends Anti-Israel Art Show Glorifying Palestinian ‘Martyrs’)

The jury found that the prosecution had proved all five aggravating factors, including Bowers’ lack of remorse, that he targeted his victims, and that he hoped to create fear among the Jewish community at large, according to The New York Times.

Bowers’ attorney did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

PITTSBURGH, PA – OCTOBER 27: Visitors look at inspired artworks along the fence at the Tree of Life Synagogue on the 1st Anniversary of the attack on October 27, 2019, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

In 2018, Bowers went to the synagogue during a worship service with a semi-automatic rifle and proceeded to kill 11 people and injure six others. Bowers told police after his arrest that he had intentionally sought out Jewish people, saying “All Jews must die,” allowing the Department of Justice to elevate the charges to a hate crime status.

Bowers was found guilty in June for 63 charges including “eleven counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death” and “twenty-five counts of discharge of a firearm during these crimes of violence.” Bowers’ attorney, Judy Clarke, who is best known for her high-profile defense of the “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, acknowledged during the sentencing proceedings that her client was guilty of the shooting charges but argued that Bowers had schizophrenia and was therefore unfit to be charged with the intent necessary for a hate crime.

Judge Robert Colville, who presided over the case, denied the defense’s Tuesday motions for a mistrial before the sentencing hearing took place and similarly rejected a request to exhume Bowers’ father, Randall Bowers, to prove that he had genetically passed a mental illness onto his son, according to CBS News.

The jury agreed in its verdict that Bowers had a “multigenerational family history of mental illness and neurological problems” but denied that both Bowers and his father had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, according to the Times.

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers of the Tree of Life synagogue previously said that he was “grateful” the court had found Bowers guilty of all the charges but has not commented on the sentencing.

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