Jury Sentences Synagogue Shooter To Death

Police tape is seen on October 28, 2018 outside the Tree of Life Synagogue after a shooting there left 11 people dead in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh on October 27, 2018. - A man suspected of bursting into a Pittsburgh synagogue during a baby-naming ceremony and gunning down 11 people has been charged with murder, in the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in recent US history. The suspect -- identified as a 46-year-old Robert Bowers -- reportedly yelled "All Jews must die" as he sprayed bullets into the Tree of Life synagogue during Sabbath services on Saturday before exchanging fire with police, in an attack that also wounded six people. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN’s Abril Elfi
12:03 PM – Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Federal jurors have declared a death sentence for the shooter who killed 11 people and wounded seven others during the largest anti-Semitic attack in the United States.


On Wednesday, a federal jury came to a unanimous decision to sentence Robert Bowers, the Tree of Life synagogue shooter, to death. This verdict came after a two-day, 10 hour deliberation between 12 federal jurors. 

The 50-year-old gunman was found guilty on June 16th of 63 charges including 22 capital charges. On July 13th, it was discovered that he was eligible for the death penalty.

During the trial, prosecutors claimed that the convicted felon committed this act out of pure hatred towards Jewish people. U.S. Attorney Eric Olshan gave his closing argument in the trial. 

“He turned an ordinary Jewish Sabbath into the worst anti-Semitic mass shooting in U.S. history, and he is proud of it,” said Olshan. “This is a case that calls for the most severe punishment under the law – the death penalty.”

On October 7, 2018, Bowers opened fire inside of the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh during Shabbat morning services. According to authorities, the gunman entered the building with an AR-15 rifle and three handguns while yelling “All Jews must die!”

After killing 11 people and injuring seven others, Bowers was shot multiple times by officers and taken into custody. 

Even though attorneys for the gunman raised questions as to whether he was driven by hate or schizophrenia when carrying out the attack, prosecutors rejected the claim that the attack was related to mental health.

“It doesn’t make you schizophrenic to be happy about what you did. This defendant just happens to be White supremacist like many other White supremacists. They’re also not delusional, they’re just White supremacists,” a lawyer for the prosecution said during closing arguments.

The 50-year-old spent years posting hateful comments about immigrants and Jewish people on social media prior to the attack. He criticized migrants as “invaders” and repeatedly disparaged the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.

This case is the first federal death penalty imposed under the Biden administration even though his campaign included a pledge to end capital punishment. 

Amid the attack, the synagogue has been closed. The Tree of Life congregation is working on building a synagogue complex that would house a sanctuary, museum, memorial and center for fighting anti-Semitism.

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