The gunman behind the 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue shooting that killed 11 worshippers and injured six others, making it the deadliest-ever attack on Jewish people in the United States, received a unanimous death sentence from a federal jury.
On July 13, a jury found Bowers was eligible for the death penalty, moving the trial to a third and final sentencing stage.
This final phase focused on aggravating and mitigating factors that potentially apply to Bowers, CNN reported.
Prosecutors argued that Bowers carried out the killings because of his hatred toward Jewish people. They also highlighted testimony from family members of the victims talking about their loved ones, as well as Bowers’ lack of remorse about his actions.
U.S. Attorney Eric Olshan said in closing arguments, “He turned an ordinary Jewish Sabbath into the worst antisemitic mass shooting in US history, and he is proud of it,” according to CNN.
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Bowers’ defense talked about his difficult childhood and mental health issues, including what they say is a delusional belief system and diagnoses of schizophrenia and epilepsy, CNN stated.
The decision to sentence Bowers to death had to be unanimous. Otherwise, he would have been sentenced to life in prison without parole, officials said.
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The jury spent just over 10 hours deliberating over the past two days. They asked two questions of the court: one to examine the guns used in the shooting and another to ask for a copy of documents in evidence about the gunman’s family history.
The jury came back with a unanimous decision and formal sentencing is set to take place on Aug. 3, CNN reported.
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