Police arrested a man Aug. 10 in Follansbee, West Virginia, in relation to the trial of Robert Bowers for the Tree of Life Synagogue mass shooting after the man allegedly committed obstruction and witness tampering.
Hardy Carroll Lloyd had been making “threatening social media posts, website comments, and emails towards the jury and witnesses” as the trial took place, according to a Thursday press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of West Virginia. Officials charged Lloyd with obstruction of the due administration of justice, witness tampering and transmitting threats in interstate and foreign commerce.
“Jury trials are a hallmark of the American justice system and attempts to intimidate witnesses or jurors will be met with a strong response,” United States Attorney William Ihlenfeld said in a statement, according to the press release. “The use of hateful threats in an effort to undermine a trial is especially troubling.” (RELATED: Jury Reaches Decision On Penalty For Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooter)
Additionally, Lloyd or other individuals allegedly placed stickers around predominantly Jewish parts of Pittsburgh, leading to a website that broadcast “his threats and antisemitic messages,” the press release reads.
“Threats of violence used to intimidate or influence a community or jury cannot and will not be tolerated,” FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Mike Nordwall said, according to the attorney’s office. “The FBI makes it a priority to investigate crimes based on religious bias. In this case, the Jewish community was specifically targeted by these threats. I want to thank the community for sharing information that helped lead to today’s arrest.”
Lloyd faces up to 20 years in prison for the tampering charge, up to 10 years in prison for the obstruction charge and up to five years for the threats charge, according to the press release.
Bowers went to the Tree of Life Synagogue with a semi-automatic rifle in 2018, killing 11 people and injuring six others during a worship service.
He told police after his arrest that he had intentionally sought out Jewish people, saying, “All Jews must die.” The Department of Justice subsequently elevated his charges to a hate crime status. Bowers was found guilty in June on 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.”