The gunman who opened fire at a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018, killing 11 people, was convicted Friday of all 63 federal counts, some of which are punishable by death, for his role in the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in the history of the United States.
The verdict in the Robert Bowers trial was announced after a jury deliberated for five hours over two days.
Bowers had pleaded not guilty to 63 federal criminal charges, including hate crimes.
He was found guilty of 11 counts of obstructing the exercise of religious belief resulting in death, a capital offense punishable by death. As a result, the trial will move to a sentencing phase where the jury will decide whether he sentences him to death or life in prison.
Bowers’ defense will have 24 hours to pursue a mental health defense, and the reports are due in court on Sunday.
The court will reconvene on June 26 for the next phase of the trial.
Seven others were injured when Bowers stormed the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood on October 27, 2018, armed with an assault rifle and three handguns.
Bowers’ lawyers admitted that he was responsible for the deadly attack, but had tried to spare his life while federal prosecutors sought the death penalty. Prosecutors had rejected Bowers’ offer to plead guilty in exchange for taking the death penalty off the table.
The prosecution rested their case on Wednesday and Bowers’ lawyers did not present a defense.
At the three-week trial, survivors, relatives of victims and police officers gave sometimes emotional testimony.
Over the course of the trial, prosecutors showed how Bowers expressed his hostility towards Jews on social media.
On the Gab platform, which is popular with the far right, his profile stated that “the Jews are the children of Satan.” He posted other offensive content and spoke approvingly of Hitler and the Nazi genocide of Jews.
Those killed in the massacre were: Joyce Fienberg, 75; Richard Gottfried, 65; Rose Mallinger, 97; Jerry Rabinowitz, 66; Cecil Rosenthal, 59; David Rosenthal, 54; Berenice Simon, 84; Sylvan Simon, 86; Daniel Stein, 71; Younger Irving, 69; and Melvin Wax, 87.