Robert Bowers, 50, was found guilty of killing 11 people and injuring seven, including five intervening police officers, in an attack on a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA in 2018. More than 60 charges were brought against him.
For a hate crime and obstruction of the free practice of religion, resulting in the death of victims, Bowers faces the death penalty. Prosecutor Mary Hahn argued during the trial that the attacker had “turned the holy house of worship into a hunting ground” and urged the jury to hold the accused to account. In total, he was charged with 63 charges.
What happened in Pittsburgh
In the morning of October 27, 2018 Bowers entered the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, USAin Pennsylvania, and shouting “All Jews must die”, opened fire on the faithful gathered at the service.
He had an AR-15 automatic rifle with him. As a result of the shooting, 11 people were killed and seven were injured.
Evidence of the perpetrator’s hostility towards Jews and immigrants
Prosecutors presented evidence of Bowers’ deep-seated hostility towards Jews and immigrants. The man shared anti-Semitic content on social media. He praised Hitler and the Holocaust.
According to American television ABC, Bowers’ attorneys suggested to the jury that found him guilty that the crime was not motivated by religious hatred but by a delusional belief that Jews were committing genocide by helping refugees settle in America.
The next phase of the hearing on June 26
In the next phase of the trial, starting June 26, when Bowers will be sentenced, the defense attorneys will try to protect their client from the death penalty. Lawyers are then expected to present evidence that Bowers suffers from schizophrenia, epilepsy and brain impairment.
The deadly shooting on October 27, 2018 at a synagogue in Pittsburgh was considered the most tragic anti-Semitic attack in the history of the United States.
Main photo source: Reuters