Robert Bowers handed death penalty for synagogue massacre in US state of Pennsylvania

Robert Bowers handed death penalty for synagogue massacre in US state of Pennsylvania

Tree of Life rampage was deadliest anti-Semitic attack in US history

By Darren Lyn

HOUSTON, United States (AA) - The man who killed 11 people in the 2018 Tree of Life Synagogue massacre was handed the death penalty Wednesday by a jury, according to media reports.

The jury unanimously voted to sentence Robert Bowers, 50, to death during the final phase of the trial.

Bowers carried out the Oct. 27, 2018, shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. It was the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in US history.

Bowers was found guilty on 63 counts in June, including 11 each of free exercise of religion resulting in death and hate crimes resulting in death. He was found eligible for the death penalty last month after a jury determined he planned the attack intending to target and kill his victims.

Prosecutors described Bowers as a man driven by his hatred of Jewish people, while defense attorneys argued he had a family history of mental illness.

"This was an act of anti-Semitism, not an issue of mental illness," said Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh President Jeffrey Finklestein during the trial.

Bowers is scheduled to be sentenced to death on Thursday.

It is the first federal death sentence to be imposed during President Joe Biden's term in office.


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