Suspect Enters Plea in Synagogue Shooting

Robert Bowers tells federal court that he is not guilty
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 11, 2019 10:30 AM CST
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In this Oct. 27, 2018, photo, a rabbi lights a candle after a mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood.   (Steph Chamber/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP, File)
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(Newser) – A truck driver accused of killing 11 people and wounding seven during an attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue has pleaded not guilty to a new indictment that added 19 additional counts. Forty-six-year-old Robert Bowers was in federal court Monday to enter his plea, reports the AP. His attorney, Judy Clarke, says the defense is hoping the case can be resolved without going to trial. Clarke is a noted death-penalty lawyer whose past clients have included one of the Boston Marathon bombers, a 9/11 conspirator, and "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski.

The new charges against Bowers include hate crime violations, obstructing religious belief, and using a firearm during crimes of violence. Authorities say Bowers raged against Jews during and after the attack. A grand jury last month added 19 counts to the 44 that Bowers had faced over the Oct. 27 shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue building. Per NBC News, Bowers pleaded not guilty to the previous charges in November. The DOJ is trying to determine whether Bowers will face the death penalty; otherwise, Bowers could see life in prison without parole if convicted, per the DOJ. No date has been set for a trial, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes.

(Read more Tree of Life shooting stories.)

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