(NEW YORK) — A federal jury has sentenced Pittsburgh synagogue mass shooter Robert Bowers to death.
All 12 jurors had to agree to impose the death penalty. Otherwise, Bowers would have been sentenced to life in prison.
Wednesday’s verdict came on the second day of deliberations.
The family of 97-year-old victim Rose Mallinger said in a statement, “Although we will never attain closure from the loss of our beloved Rose Mallinger, we now feel a measure of justice has been served.”
“Returning a sentence of death is not a decision that comes easy, but we must hold accountable those who wish to commit such terrible acts of antisemitism, hate, and violence,” the family said. “May we always remember those who were taken too soon — Joyce Fienberg, Richard Gottfried, Jerry Rabinowitz, Cecil and David Rosenthal, Daniel Stein, Bernice and Sylvan Simon, Irving Younger, Melvin Wax, and Rose Mallinger. May their memories be for a blessing.”
Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, who survived the massacre, said in a statement, “In the years we have spent waiting for this trial to take place, many of us have been stuck in neutral. It was a challenge to move forward with the looming specter of a murder trial.”
“Now that the trial is nearly over and the jury has recommended a death sentence, it is my hope that we can begin to heal and move forward,” Myers said. “I have my faith, bolstered by the embrace and respect with which my community has been treated by our government and our fellow citizens. For this and the seriousness with which the jury took its duty, I remain forever grateful.”
Bowers shot and killed 11 worshippers, including a 97-year-old woman, at the Tree of Life synagogue on Oct. 27, 2018, in the deadliest antisemitic attack in American history.
Bowers had offered to plead guilty if the death penalty was taken off the table, but prosecutors turned him down.
He was convicted in June on all 63 charges against him, including 11 counts of hate crimes resulting in death.
On July 13, the jury decided Bowers and the crime met the criteria to be eligible for the death penalty.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
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