Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh
Tree of Life Synagogue in PittsburghReuters

Robert Bowers, the gunman who opened fire at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in October of 2018, killing 11, was found guilty Friday on all 63 federal charges, some of which are punishable by death, NBC News reported.

The verdict in Bowers' trial was announced after a jury deliberated for five hours over two days.

Bowers was initially indicted on 44 counts. In January of 2019, a federal grand jury added 19 charges to the 44 counts previously levied against Bowers.

Bowers had pleaded not guilty to 63 federal criminal counts, including hate crimes.

He was found guilty on 11 counts of obstructing the exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death, a capital offense punishable by death. As a result, the trial will move into a penalty phase where the jury will decide whether to sentence him to death or life in prison.

Bowers’ defense will have 24 hours to pursue a mental health defense, with reports due to the court by Sunday.

The court will reconvene on June 26 for the next phase of the trial.

The defense team has argued that the defendant suffers from schizophrenia. They offered a guilty plea in exchange for life in prison, which was rejected by the prosecution.

Earlier this week, before the prosecution rested its case, it pointed out Bowers’ use of Gab — a social media platform popular with the far right — to advance his antisemitic views.

Bowers’ Gab profile said “Jews are the children of Satan,” and he posted, liked or shared a stream of virulently antisemitic content, according to dozens of examples provided to the jury on Monday and Tuesday. Bowers called Jews “public enemy number one,” according to a post read by an FBI agent, spoke approvingly of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi extermination of Jews, and shared an image that said “the only good Jew is a dead Jew.”

On the morning of the attack, Bowers posted about HIAS, a Jewish agency that helps refugees resettle in the United States.

“HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in,” Bowers wrote.

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, praised the jury's stance on Friday, saying: “We welcome the jury’s verdict today and believe that justice has been served.”

“This attack was the deadliest act of antisemitic violence in American history — but the hate and conspiratorial thinking that fueled this violence has not gone away," he said. "We thank the jurors for their service, and we hope this brings closure to those who lost loved ones five years ago."

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)