The man who opened fire at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue in 2018, killing 11 people in the deadliest attack on Jewish people in America, has been found guilty of dozens of federal charges, WPXI reported.
Jurors returned guilty verdicts Friday for all 63 of the charges filed against Robert Bowers in connection with the Oct. 27, 2018 shooting. With his conviction, Bowers could face the death penalty, according to WPXI.
Next: Sentencing phase of trial
Update 12:30 p.m. EDT June 16: After delivering Friday’s verdict, jurors will next be tasked with determining whether to recommend sentencing Bowers to life in prison or the death penalty.
The court will reconvene to begin the sentencing phase of the trial on June 26, WPXI reported.
Bowers guilty of all 63 charges
Update 12:10 p.m. EDT June 16: Jurors found Bowers guilty of all 63 charges he faced, WPXI reported.
The charges against Bowers include:
- Eleven counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death.
- Eleven counts of use and discharge of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a crime of violence.
- Two counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs involving an attempt to kill and use of a dangerous weapon and resulting in bodily injury.
- Eleven counts of use and discharge of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
- Eight counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs involving an attempt to kill and use of a dangerous weapon, and resulting in bodily injury to a public safety officer.
- One count of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs involving use of a dangerous weapon and resulting in bodily injury to a public safety officer.
Jury finds Bowers guilty
Update 12 p.m. EDT June 16: The jury found Bowers guilty of dozens of charges on Friday, WPXI reported. He had faced more than 60 federal charges related to the shooting, including hate crime charges.
Original report: During closing statements on Thursday, defense attorney Elisa Long acknowledged that “Bowers entered the TOL synagogue and shot every person he saw,” WPXI reported. However, she that her client did not aim to stop religious services, pointing to social media posts that showed his “sense of reality, no matter how distorted it may be.”
“He was motivated by the noncynical and irrational thought that his actions that day somehow and someway save the lives of children, prevent genocide and stop immigration,” she said.
Prosecutor Mary Hahn said Bowers made cold, calculated and deliberate choices when he went into the Tree of Life synagogue and gunned down half the people in the building.
“He pursued and killed congregants as they tried to save others and hid under pews, hugging each other with no chance against his high-velocity rifle,” she said, according to WPXI.
“In his own words, ‘All these Jews need to die.’”
Jurors began deliberations in the case on Thursday after hearing from 60 prosecution witnesses, WPXI reported.
Bowers’ defense did not present any evidence, according to the news station.