Robert Bowers: The trucker who killed 11 parishioners in a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018, guilty of all charges | International
The deadliest anti-Semitic attack in the history of the United States met its sentence this Friday. Robert Bowers, a trucker loaded with hatred of Jews who on October 27, 2018, broke into a synagogue in Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) and killed whoever he shot, 11 parishioners in total, has been convicted by a popular jury of the 68 charges of which he was accused. Now it's up to the judge to decide whether he sends him to death row or sentences him to life in prison without possible parole.
Lawyers for Bowers, 50, pleaded guilty to their client early in a multi-week trial. His goal, they said, was to save her life. The prosecution, supported by several of the families of the victims, did not want to accept the pact and decided to take the process to the end, seeking an execution. Among the crimes for which he now awaits her conviction are murder, hatred resulting in death or obstruction of religious freedom. One of the prosecutors said Thursday that the killer had turned a place of prayer into a "hunting ground" that day.
During the trial it has been proven that Bowers interrupted the celebration of the sabbath, the holy day in the Jewish synagogue week, in the Tree of Life synagogue lined with various weapons, including AR-15, assault rifle that is used in most mass shootings in the United States States (296, only so far this year) and that has become an icon of the culture of a violent society. In addition to the 11 dead, eight men and three women, the guy injured seven other people, including five Pittsburgh police officers.
"I thank God for allowing us to live this day," Jeffrey Myers, the congregation's rabbi, said in a statement shared after the sentence was released. He survived the attack. "And I'm also grateful," he added, "to the law enforcement who put themselves in danger to rescue me, and to the federal prosecutor who appeared in court to defend our right to pray." Carole Zawatsky, CEO of The Tree of Life, stated that she hopes that the sentence will bring "some comfort" to the relatives and that it "helps to mitigate their pain, even slightly."
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During the 11-day testimony phase, jurors heard stories about Bowers' anti-Semitic hatred, which he spread online, with messages denying the Holocaust and apologizing for Adolf Hitler. Once he was arrested, he told the agents: "Those Jews deserved to die."
According to the statement of charges, he published a text on the website gab.com, popular among far-right supporters, on October 10, 2018, in which he criticized the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) and affiliated congregations. , among them, the one that ended up attacking, who organized events related to refugees. Just before embarking on his macabre mission at the Tree of Life synagogue, he wrote: “HIAS likes to bring in invaders who kill our people. I can't sit back and watch that happen. Fuck it, I'm going in."
The condemnation comes at a time when anti-Semitism in the United States is growing, according to studies by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which has published a report every year since the 1960s. According to the ADL, 3,697 anti-Semitic incidents were recorded in the country in 2022, 36% more than the previous year, which had set a historical record. Add to that the role of prominent figures like rapper Kanye West (now going by Ye) in spreading hateful messages against Jews in the public sphere.
The Joe Biden Administration recently created the figure of the Special Envoy to Combat Anti-Semitism, a position for which it appointed the famous Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt. The movie Denial (2016) drew attention to the work of this professor at Emory University in Atlanta. In it, the case is told Irving vs. Penguin Books. Irving is British Holocaust denier David Irving, who sued Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz in the film) for libel after she debunked her dangerous unsubstantiated theories in a book, which were also phenomenal business for Irving. . He lost that trial.
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