June 16, 2024
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Bowers Convicted on All Counts In Pittsburgh Synagogue Trial

(JNS) It took jurors five hours to come to their conclusion: The man accused of murdering 11 Jewish worshippers at the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh on the morning of Oct. 27, 2018, is guilty on all counts.

Robert Bowers, 46 at the time of the mass shooting, has now been convicted on 63 charges, including 11 capital counts each of obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death and of using a firearm to commit murder; and 11 counts of hate crimes resulting in death.

“I am grateful to God for getting us to this day. And I am thankful for the law enforcement who ran into danger to rescue me and the U.S. attorney who stood up in the court to defend my right to pray,” said Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, who survived the attack, following the verdict. “Today, I’m focused on being with my congregation and praying, singing and clapping in praise of God as we do each Shabbat. In the face of the horror our community has experienced, I can think of no better response than practicing my Jewish faith and leading worship.”

The Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh said it “continues to stand with the families, witnesses and first responder community most directly impacted by the deadly synagogue shooting.”

The organization added that the shooting’s impact extends far beyond those in the local community and thanked “the citizenry of the greater Pittsburgh region for standing with the Jewish community since October 27, 2018, and supporting our communal efforts towards healing and resiliency.”

The American Jewish Committee stated: “We realize it does little to ease the pain for the families and friends of the 11 people murdered at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh simply for being Jewish and practicing their faith. However, we hope this verdict allows them to continue the slow process of healing if not closure.”

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and national director of the Anti-Defamation League, noted that the attack was the deadliest antisemitic violence in U.S. history: “The hate and conspiratorial thinking that fueled this violence has not gone away. We thank the jurors for their service, and we hope this brings closure to those who lost loved ones five years ago.”

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