Robert Bowers Convicted In Deadliest Attack On US Jews
According to CNN News, Robert Bowers, 50, was found guilty on June 16 of all 63 charges against him for killing 11 worshipers and wounding six others at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue in 2018, the deadliest attack on Jewish people in the US. Twenty-two of those counts were capital offenses.
Bowers approached the synagogue with three handguns and an AR-15 rifle and began firing near the entrance to the synagogue and then opened fire on congregants, according to testimony. Police eventually shot Bowers multiple times before he surrendered and was arrested. Those who died included a 97-year-old great-grandmother, an 87-year-old accountant and a couple married at the synagogue more than 60 years earlier.
Patricia Fine, the aunt of convicted murderer Robert Bowers, told victims and their loved ones that she could not imagine their grief and pain. “I am so sorry for the entire victim community, I will be sorry every day of my life that I didn’t realize the help he needed,” said Patricia Fine.”
Fine’s remarks on Monday afternoon concluded the final testimony phase of the trial of her nephew, who killed 11 Jews and injured six others when he attacked the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue on October 27, 2018.
If spared execution, Bowers would likely be confined for 23 hours daily and be allowed two 15-minute phone calls a month. At U.S. Penitentiary, Administrative Maximum Facility in Colorado, where Bowers would likely go, he would have a toilet that can flush twice hourly and would be allowed no visits ever with physical contact. That’s what Maureen Baird, a consultant who was formerly a prison warden, testified last week.
Other witnesses last week provided further perspective on Bowers’s history and potential mental state.
Jeffrey Dillinger, pastor of the Whitehall Church of Christ in Pittsburgh, testified that the defendant expressed interest in Christianity in 2016, particularly in the Book of Revelation.
Dr. George Corvin, a psychiatrist, testified that Bowers told him he previously had a ghost in his apartment which caused light bulbs to go out on Sundays, and that he slept with a shotgun beside his bed, fearing United Nations “blue hats” would come for him.
As reported on the CNN News, two medical experts called by the defense testified the shooter diagnosed Bowers with schizophrenia, and one diagnosed him with epilepsy. Other experts testified that Bowers had shown signs of these conditions, as well as delusions.
In the prosecution’s rebuttal argument, attorney Eric Olshan disputed the defense experts’ diagnoses, saying Bowers does not have schizophrenia, epilepsy, or delusions.
“People don’t go into a church and kill a bunch of older people for no reason. We’ve tried to provide you with reasons that we think explain how this horrible crime could’ve happened,” said the defense attorney Michael Burt.
The jury heard from a total of 20 witnesses over more than two weeks of testimony in the trial’s latest phase. After closing statements on Tuesday morning, the jury will deliberate and consider whether Bowers should be executed.
Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate
Edited by Eunice Anyango Oyule and Judy J. Rotich
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