April trial set for man charged in synagogue massacre

Posted at 11:38 AM, September 20, 2022 and last updated 11:38 AM, September 20, 2022

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The long-delayed capital murder trial of Robert Bowers in the 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue massacre will begin in April, a federal judge has ruled.

FILE – This undated Pennsylvania Department of Transportation photo shows Robert Bowers.  (Pennsylvania Department of Transportation via AP, File)

Robert Bowers, a Baldwin resident who has pleaded not guilty, could be sentenced to death if convicted of the shootings. He faces more than 60 federal charges stemming from the Oct. 27, 2018, attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh that killed 11 worshippers in the deadliest attack on Jewish people in U.S. history.

U.S. District Judge Robert Colville issued an order Monday setting the trial date for April 24, when jury selection will begin.

Bowers, armed with a rifle and three handguns, is accused of shooting 18 people and trading gunfire with officers, getting shot three times before he was taken into police custody. His social media history included posts about a false conspiracy theory that the Holocaust was a hoax and expressed contempt for a nonprofit Jewish group that helps refugees.

Bowers’ lawyers have long sought a deal for him to plead guilty and get a life sentence if the government would take the death penalty off the table. They and prosecutors have been sparring over pretrial motions and discovery issues for years.

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