Truck driver convicted of killing 11 in Pittsburgh synagogue shooting | Pittsburgh shooting

Truck driver who expressed hatred of Jews could be convicted and sentenced to death for breaking into Pittsburgh synagogue on Jewish Sabbath and shooting dead 11 believers in anti-Semitic terrorism There is also sex.

Friday’s guilty verdict against Robert Bowers was a foregone conclusion. Bowers’ attorneys admitted at the outset of the trial that Bowers attacked and killed a worshiper at the Tree of Life synagogue on October 27, 2018, making it the deadliest Jewish attack in U.S. history. rice field.

“We thank God for leading us to this day,” Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, who survived the attack, said in a statement. The Pittsburgh Gazette reported. “And I am grateful to the law enforcement agencies who put themselves in danger to save me, and to the U.S. attorneys who stood in court to defend my right to pray.

“In the face of fear [that] Our community has experienced it and I can’t think of a better response than practicing the Jewish faith and leading worship,” added Rabbi Myers.

As the federal trial moves into the punitive phase, which is expected to last several weeks, jurors now have to decide whether to send the 50-year-old to death row or sentence him to life in prison without parole. . A jury will be asked to first determine whether Mr. Bowers is eligible for the death penalty and then whether it is justifiable.

The ruling questioned whether Mr. Bowers acted with a conscious intent to interfere with the practice of religious worship, as the government alleged, or whether Mr. Bowers, as defense counsel argued at trial, It could affect whether he acted on the “irrational” belief of HIAS. The Jewish Resettlement Agency was causing a “genocide” of whites.

Federal defense attorney Elisa Long said in her closing argument, “In his mind, it was necessary to kill the Jews who supported HIAS because they took immigrants who were committing genocide against children.” It’s coming,” he said. “None of it makes sense, none of it is true, but it’s what Mr. Bowers believed to be real.”

Mr. Bowers’ “disturbing and ugly” social media posts “give us insight into Mr. Bowers’ sense of reality, no matter how distorted it may be,” Long added.

Bowers was tried on 63 criminal charges, including death from hate crimes and death from obstructing the free exercise of religion. His lawyers pleaded guilty in exchange for life imprisonment, but the prosecution refused and chose to take the case to trial and pursue the death penalty. Most of the victims’ families expressed support for the decision.

Robert Bowers. Photo: Associated Press

Bowers turned sacred chapels into “hunting grounds” and targeted victims on religious grounds. Prosecutors told jurors on Thursday: Prosecutor Mary Hahn read out the names of each of the 11 murder victims and asked the jury to “hold this defendant accountable…and hold accountable those who cannot testify.”

Armed with an AR-15 rifle and other weapons, Bowers shot and killed seven people, including five police officers who responded.

Prosecutors presented evidence of his deep-rooted hostility toward Jews and immigrants. Through 11 days of testimony, jurors found Mr. Bowers widely published, shared or liked anti-Semitic and white supremacist content on Gab, a social media platform popular with the far right, and praised Hitler and the Holocaust. “All these Jews need to die,” Mr. Bowers told police, Mr. Hahn said.

Survivors testified: The fear they felt that dayOne woman described how she realized her 97-year-old mother had been shot next to her after being shot in the arm. Andrea Wedner, the final witness in the trial, told the jury: touched her mother’s dead body She yelled “Mama” before Swat police escorted her to safety.

Bower’s attorneys have never disputed that their client was the shooter. “He shot everyone he saw,” said lead defense attorney Judy Clark in her opening statement.

During the final stages of the trial, Bowers’ attorney Elisa Long echoed these comments, admitting that there was “no excuse or justification” for the “devastation, loss and unbearable grief” caused by Bowers.

With Bowers’ conviction confirmed, survivors and families of deceased victims are expected to tell jurors the devastating effects of his crimes. The penalty phase is set to begin next week.

Associated Press Contributes to Reporting. Truck driver convicted of killing 11 in Pittsburgh synagogue shooting | Pittsburgh shooting

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