(Reuters) – U.S. prosecutors will search the demise penalty for a Pennsylvania man accused of bursting right into a Pittsburgh synagogue final yr with a semi-automatic rifle and taking pictures 11 folks to demise, in accordance with court docket papers filed on Monday.
FILE PHOTO: The facade of the Tree of Life synagogue, the place a mass taking pictures occurred final Saturday, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S., November three, 2018. REUTERS/Alan Freed/File Photograph
Robert Bowers, 46, shouted “all Jews should die” as he fired on congregants gathered for Sabbath providers on the Tree of Life synagogue on Oct. 27, authorities stated.
Bowers, who’s from a Pittsburgh suburb, has pleaded not responsible in U.S. District Court docket in Pittsburgh to a 63-count indictment and is awaiting trial although a trial date has not been set. The costs embrace utilizing a firearm to commit homicide and obstruction of free train of spiritual perception leading to demise, the court docket submitting stated.
“Robert Bowers expressed hatred and contempt towards members of the Jewish religion and his animus towards members of the Jewish religion performed a job within the killings,” prosecutors stated.
The bloodbath on the Tree of Life synagogue was the deadliest assault ever on Jewish Individuals in america.
The synagogue is a fixture in Pittsburgh’s traditionally Jewish neighborhood of Squirrel Hill, which is residence to one of many largest and oldest Jewish populations in america.
Bowers focused that location “to maximise the devastation, amplify the hurt of his crimes and instill worry inside the native, nationwide and worldwide Jewish communities,” prosecutors stated in court docket papers.
An lawyer for Bowers, demise penalty specialist Judy Clarke, didn’t return calls or an electronic mail in search of remark.
The Tree of Life synagogue hosted a number of Jewish congregations.
Dor Hadash, one of many congregations that was attacked and whose identify means New Era in English, expressed disappointment within the choice to hunt the demise penalty.
As a substitute, attorneys for Bowers and federal prosecutors ought to have reached a plea settlement that might see him obtain a life jail sentence, Dor Hadash stated in a press release.
“It might have prevented the attacker from getting the eye and publicity that may inevitably include a trial, and eradicated any risk of additional trauma that would consequence from a trial and protracted appeals,” it stated.
Individually, a spokesman for Tree of Life stated in an electronic mail the congregation “doesn’t have a press release on this matter; we now have confidence that justice will likely be served.”
Amongst these killed have been a 97-year-old girl and a married couple of their 80s. Two civilians and 5 law enforcement officials have been wounded earlier than the gunman, who was armed with an assault-style rifle and three handguns, was shot by police on the synagogue and surrendered. He has been held in jail since then.
The mass taking pictures adopted an increase within the variety of hate crimes and the variety of hate teams in america, in accordance with separate reviews from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Southern Poverty Regulation Heart.
Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Enhancing by Cynthia Osterman