Robert Bowers, the man who massacred eleven people in an antisemitic shooting attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2018, has received the death penalty.
The jury reached its verdict on the shooter's sentence today (Wednesday).
Bowers, 50 was convicted in June on 63 counts in connection with the October 27, 2018 massacre. Later, a federal jury announced that he is eligible to receive the death penalty. He was found to have had a history of antisemitic comments on social media
He entered the synagogue carrying three Glock pistols and an AR-15 rifle. The sentence was reached after jurors asked to see the weapons used in the attack.
The jurors have spent 10 hours deliberating over the sentence in the last two days.
Bowers' defense, in an effort to convince the jury not to impose the death penalty, had said that he has a family history of mental illness and has introduced evidence that his father, Randall Bowers, was diagnosed with schizophrenia. The prosecution argued that Bowers did not suffer from any form of psychosis and had chosen to hold white supremacist beliefs.
US Attorney Eric Olshan said in his closing arguments on Monday that Bowers "turned an ordinary Jewish Sabbath into the worst antisemitic mass shooting in US history, and he is proud of it."
“This is a case that calls for the most severe punishment under the law – the death penalty,” he added.
Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, said following Wednesday's verdict: "Today’s decision represents a measure of justice for the slaughter of 11 Jewish worshippers on that fateful day in 2018 at the Tree of Life synagogue. Nothing can ever bring back the people killed in the attack, the deadliest act of antisemitism in the history of the United States."
“I visited the synagogue in the aftermath of the attack, and at that time, I said the attack was not only on the Jewish community, but America as a whole.
“The jury’s decision is a stark reminder to remain vigilant about countering antisemitism, wherever it may hide. I call on American leaders to amplify their efforts to protect Jewish communities across the country so that such a tragedy never again takes place.
“May the survivors of the attack and the victims’ families find some comfort from the jury’s decision and may the memory of the 11 people killed be for a blessing,” Lauder said.