(DCWatchdog.com) – The shooter who massacred 11 people in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been found eligible for the death penalty by a federal jury.
Robert Bowers, a truck driver who was 46 at the time, attacked the Tree of Life Synagogue with an AR-15 rifle and other weapons on October 27, 2018.
In what has become the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in the US, he also wounded seven people – two more worshippers and five police officers.
The gunman was shot and wounded by the police. Before the shooting, he posted anti-Jewish messages online and planned his synagogue attack for six months.
Since he has been in custody, he has said he regrets not managing to kill more Jews.
The federal jury in his trial has now agreed with the prosecutors that Bowers “had formed the requisite legal intent to kill.”
The defendant “showed little reaction to the verdict,” AP reports, as cited by Newsmax.
The shooter’s lawyers argued he had been unable to form intent due to mental health problems and “a delusional belief that he could stop a genocide of white people by killing Jews who help immigrants.”
The new decision of the jury comes after last month, 50-year-old Bowers was convicted of 63 charges, among them “hate crimes resulting in death and obstruction of the free exercise of religion resulting in death.”
Bowers trial will now focus on the consequences of the mass shooting for the survivors and the victims’ loved ones, AP reports.
“It has been nearly five years since 11 people were taken from us. They were beloved and valued family members, friends and neighbors. They cannot speak for themselves, and so their family members will speak for them,” said Maggie Feinstein, director of 10.27 Healing Partnership, a program helping survivors of the massacre.
The prosecutors rejected his lawyers’ offer for a guilty plea in exchange for a life sentence and are now seeking capital punishment for Bowers.
If jurors agree, that will be the first federal death sentence since Joe Biden took over the White House. The report notes that Biden vowed to end capital punishment during his presidential campaign, yet federal prosecutors still seek it in some cases.