Justice Served: Pittsburgh Jury Sentences Synagogue Killer to Death
Justice Served: Pittsburgh Jury Sentences Synagogue Killer to Death

Pennsylvania​: To to the New York Times, a federal jury on Wednesday convicted Robert Bowers of the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in US history after he murdered 11 worshippers at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue in 2018.

In the trial held at the US District Court in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in June, the jury found 50-year-old Bowers guilty of a number of federal hate crimes. Bowers was found guilty on 63 counts, including 11 counts involving the death caused by interference with the exercise of one's religion.

The jury determined Bowers was deserving of the death penalty during the first stage of the sentencing portion of the trial two weeks ago. The jury then heard testimony and arguments regarding whether the defendant should have been executed for the killings from both the prosecution and defence teams.

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He was found guilty of all charges on June 16 by a jury, despite the defence team's insistence that he planned and executed the attack.

The evidence of Bowers' antisemitism, including numerous posts attacking Jews made on a far-right website in the months before the attack, was presented to the jury in the form of testimony from some of the attack survivors.

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In federal capital cases, the jury must unanimously decide to sentence the defendant to death during a separate penalty phase of the trial. The judge cannot overturn the jury's decision. The offender is instead sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole if the jury cannot come to a unanimous decision.

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Prosecutors have argued that Bowers had the required premeditation and intent to warrant the death penalty during the sentencing phase. They presented witnesses and evidence to demonstrate that he meticulously planned the attack and specifically targeted elderly worshippers who were at risk.

Defence attorneys contended that Bowers lacks the necessary level of intent because of serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia

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