Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooter Sentenced to Death for 2018 Antisemitic Attack

Robert Bowers, who was convicted last month for the 2018 mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that killed 11 congregants received a death penalty sentence from a jury.

The jury had been deliberating since Tuesday morning until they indicated that they had reached a verdict at 11:15 am Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. 

About a half-hour later, U.S. District Judge Robert J. Colville read the jury’s unanimous decision inside a courtroom that included survivors and victims’ family members. 

Andrea Wedner, one of the survivors from the Tree of Life shooting who lost her mother, Rose Mallinger, in the antisemitic attack, reportedly sobbed following the verdict, while Michele Rosenthal, whose two siblings were killed, gave a hard look at Bowers, per the Post-Gazette.

Bowers, 50, spread antisemitic and white supremacist beliefs online prior to carrying the attack on the synagogue on October 27, 2018, per the Associated Press. According to authorities, Bowers had with him three handguns and an AR-15 assault rifle at the time of the rampage.

Tree of Life Synagogue.
ene J Puskar/AP/REX/Shutterstock

KDKA reported, according to police sources, that Bowers yelled “all Jews must die” after entering the Tree of Life synagogue during a Saturday morning Shabbat service. The 11 victims killed in the shooting were Joyce Fienberg, 75; Richard Gottfried, 65; Rose Mallinger, 97; Jerry Rabinowitz, 66; Cecil Rosenthal, 59; David Rosenthal, 54; Bernice Simon, 84; Sylvan Simon, 86; Daniel Stein, 71; Melvin Wax, 87; and Irving Younger, 69.  Authorities also said that Bowers injured two other congregants in the attack.  

Remembering the 11 Slain in Synagogue Massacre: ‘We’ve All Just Been Crying Endlessly’

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Howard Fienberg, who lost his mother Joyce Fienberg in the attack, said of the death penalty sentence, ABC News reported: “The jury sat through months of horror and delivered justice to my mom and everyone that was killed and everyone that was injured and beyond.”

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“We thank the prosecutors and their staff for all their hard work and preparation leading up to and during the trial. We are grateful to the Court for their diligence and thoroughness,” the Wedner/Mallinger family said in a statement via the Post-Gazette. “We also thank the courageous witnesses and family members, the members of local law enforcement and the FBI for their testimony and bravery, and the government experts who all contributed to justice being served. 

On June 16, Bowers was found guilty on all 63 criminal counts — among them hate crimes.  When the verdict was read, he showed little reaction, according to the AP. 

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland shared a statement in a news release following the sentencing: “The horrific attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue on October 27, 2018, stole the lives of 11 innocent victims, shattered their families, gutted their congregation and the Pittsburgh community, and struck fear in the lives of Jewish people across the country. Hate crimes like this one inflict irreparable pain on individual victims and their loved ones and lead entire communities to question their very belonging. All Americans deserve to live free from the fear of hate-fueled violence and the Justice Department will hold accountable those who perpetrate such acts.”

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“The damage caused by antisemitism cannot be understated, just as the tragic loss of the eleven victims cannot be measured,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray in the same release. “Healing will be a life-long journey for the survivors, families, and communities affected by this vile attack, and the FBI will be there to support them throughout that journey.”

The court will hand down Bowers’ sentence on Thursday, the U.S. Justice Department said. 

Categories: Trends
Source: HIS Education

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