OAN Abril Elfi
11:49 AM – Thursday, July 13, 2023
A mass shooter convicted in the 2018 killings at a Pittsburgh synagogue is eligible to face the death penalty as ruled by the United States jury.
Bowers had killed 11 members of three different congregations while wounding two people and five police officers.
Before the attack, Bowers raved on social media about his hatred of Jews and told officers on the scene that “all these Jews need to die.” Bowers also expressed satisfaction with his actions to psychologists who interviewed him in May of this year.
Jurors were given the responsibility of deciding if Bowers should be handed the death penalty and whether to impose it during the punishment phase of the trial, which began on June 26th.
Prosecutor Mary Hahn claimed during the trial that Bowers had a long history of interacting with and supporting anti-Semitic and White supremacist content online.
Meanwhile, his attorneys contended that although the attack was cruel, it was motivated by “nonsensical and irrational” views rather than anti-Jewish animosity.
Bowers’ defense attorneys argued that because of his severe mental illness, including schizophrenia, he lacked the level of intent required to warrant the death penalty. Instead, they had proposed pleading guilty in exchange for a life sentence, which the prosecution declined, choosing instead to go to trial and seek the death penalty.
If jurors decide that Bowers should be executed, it would be the first federal death sentence delivered under President Joe Biden’s administration.
Federal prosecutors still seek the death sentence in some cases even though Biden ran his campaign on a promise to abolish the death penalty.
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