Synagogue Shooting Suspect Robert Bowers Faces the Death Penalty or More Than Five Centuries of Prison

robert bowers mugshot

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced that accused synagogue mass murderer Robert Bowers, 46, has been indicted on 44 counts, including hate crimes. Upon conviction, Bowers would face a maximum punishment of either the death penalty or life without parole, plus a consecutive sentence of 535 years in prison.

The feds say that Bowers entered the Tree of Life Synagogue on Saturday in Pittsburgh, Pa., and expressed a desire to “kill Jews.” Bowers allegedly used two Glocks and a Colt AR-15 to murder 11 Jewish worshippers in cold blood.

The victims have been identified as David Rosenthal, 54, Cecil Rosenthal, 59, Richard Gottfried, 65, Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, Irving Younger, 69, Daniel Stein, 71, Joyce Fienberg, 75, Melvin Wax, 88, Bernice Simon, 84, Sylvan Simon, 86 and Rose Mallinger, 97.

According to the DOJ, Bowers has been indicted for the following crimes:

Eleven counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death;

Eleven counts of use and discharge of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a crime of violence;

Two counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs involving an attempt to kill and use of a dangerous weapon and resulting in bodily injury;

Eleven counts of use and discharge of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence;

Eight counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs involving an attempt to kill and use of a dangerous weapon, and resulting in bodily injury to a public safety officer; and

One count of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs involving use of a dangerous weapon and resulting in bodily injury to a public safety officer.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions condemned the anti-Semitic hate crime as “incomprehensibly evil and utterly repugnant to the values of this nation.”

We already knew that Scott W. Brady, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, is seeking the death penalty in this case.

Brady said that “Today begins the process of seeking justice for the victims of these hateful acts, and healing for the victims’ families, the Jewish community, and our city.”

“Our office will spare no resource, and will work with professionalism, integrity and diligence, in a way that honors the memories of the victims,” he said. “This is what the public expects from the US Department of Justice. And truly we, as Pittsburghers, can do no other.  It is time to go to work.”

[Image via mugshot]

Matt Naham is managing editor of Law&Crime. He formerly worked as news editor and weekend editor at Rare.

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