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Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue mass shooting: Jury reaches verdict in death penalty phase

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(PITTSBURGH) — Convicted Pittsburgh synagogue mass shooter Robert Bowers is eligible for the death penalty, a federal jury decided Thursday.

The trial will now move forward into a final phase in which the jury will hear evidence before deciding if Bowers should be sentenced to death or to life in prison.

Bowers stormed the Tree of Life synagogue on Oct. 27, 2018, gunning down 11 congregants in the deadliest antisemitic attack in American history.

Bowers allegedly told investigators after his arrest that he wanted to kill Jewish people, according to a criminal complaint.

Bowers had offered to plead guilty if the death penalty was taken off the table, but prosecutors turned him down.

Bowers was convicted in June on all 63 charges against him, including 11 counts of hate crimes resulting in death.

At Bowers’ trial, prosecutors said he moved “methodically” through the synagogue with a semi-automatic assault-style rifle and three handguns, shooting many of his victims at close range.

Defense attorney Judy Clarke admitted at trial that Bowers was the shooter, but asked the jurors to “scrutinize his intent” in the attack.

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