The jury deliberating the sentence for the gunman whoand injured seven more in a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018 has reached a decision, . The jury was weighing either a death sentence or life in prison. The sentence will be announced in court shortly.
The gunman, Robert Bowers, was found guilty in June of allbrought against him in connection with the massacre, including criminal counts for hate crimes resulting in death.
He opened fire inside of Pittsburgh’ssynagogue on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, during Shabbat morning services. Some of the victims were worshippers from two other congregations, Dor Hadash and New Light, which shared space in the building along with Tree of Life, the largest of the three. Armed with an AR-15 rifle and three handguns, police said he shouted “All Jews must die!” during the shooting, which is the deadliest antisemitic attack in U.S. history. The gunman was shot multiple times by responding officers and taken into custody.
Attorneys for the shooter, a truck driver with a documented history of antisemitic and violent extremist views that he posted about online, admitted during the criminal trial that he was responsible for the massacre, but focused on his mental state, raising questions as to whether Bowers was driven by hate or schizophrenia when he carried out the attack.
Prosecutors rejected the defense’s claims related to mental illness, arguing that the gunman methodically planned the shooting before entering the Tree of Life that morning. One federal prosecutor told the jury that the attacker turned a house of worship into a “hunting ground.”
“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 jury found Bowers eligible to face the death penalty in July. While the prosecution had pushed during the trial for capital punishment, attorneys for the gunman asked for life in prison without the possibility of parole. Judy Clarke, a defense attorney, recounted in court the shooter’s family history of mental illness and abuse, as well as alleged suicide attempts and hospitalizations that, she said, led him to develop schizophrenia, CBS Pittsburgh reported.
Judge Robert Colville, who presided over the case, denied a motion from the defense for a mistrial prior to the sentencing hearing on Tuesday morning.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Sneak peek: The Snapchat Clue
Sneak peek: The Psychiatrist and the Selfie
“I was mortified”: Former dancers suing Lizzo describe moments with singer