Synagogue shooter is charged with 44-count indictment
The federal grand jury indicted 46-year-old Bowers on 44 charges on Wednesday night
The charges include 22 which carry the death penalty or more than 500 years behind bars
Bowers, who in the past has aired his strong anti-Semitic views on social media, denied them all during a brief appearance on Thursday morning
Some of the victims have been buried, three more funerals are scheduled in Pittsburgh at the same time
Mass shooter Robert Bowers, [photo], pled not guilty to all 44 counts he faces on Thursday. He has requested a jury trial
The Pittsburgh man who massacred worshipers at a synagogue over the weekend pled not guilty to a slew of charges on Thursday as he appeared in court in Pennsylvania.
Robert Bowers, 46, is facing the death penalty for murdering 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday.
He was initially arrested on 29 counts including 22 which carried the death penalty but a grand jury piled onto the indictment another 15 charges on Wednesday night.
On Thursday, he made a brief appearance to face the 44-count indictment.
Dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit and with a bandage around his upper right arm,
Bowers who made his first courtroom appearance in a wheelchair, a day earlier, Thursday was on his feet. Bowers who is being represented by two public defenders, answered in the affirmative when asked if he understood the charges against him.
Prosecutors have been given 45 days to file pre-trial motions. They said the trial could take as long as a month.
In the 12-page indictment against him, the victims are referred to by their initials.
They are Joyce Fienberg, 75, Richard Gottfried, 65, Rose Mallinger, 97, Cecil Rosenthal, 59, David Rosenthal, 54, Irving Younger, 69, Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, Melvin Wax, 88, Bernice and Sylvan Simon, 84 and 86, and Daniel Stein, 71.
Robert Bowers is charged with 11 counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death
Other charges include 11 counts of use and discharge of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a crime of violence; two counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs involving an attempt to kill and use of a dangerous weapon and resulting in bodily injury.
The race-baiting anti-Semitic gunman is also facing 11 counts of use and discharge of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, as well as, 8 counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs involving an attempt to kill and use of a dangerous weapon, and resulting in bodily injury to a public safety officer.
The charges are rounded out with one count of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs involving use of a dangerous weapon and resulting in bodily injury to a public safety officer.
Mourners grieve at a memorial outside the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on Monday, two days after a gunman killed 11 congregants there
After the indictment was returned, Attorney General Jeff Sessions described the case as an ‘important’ one which required swift justice.
‘Hatred and violence on the basis of religion can have no place in our society.
‘Every American has the right to attend their house of worship in safety. The defendant in this case allegedly murdered 11 innocent people during religious services and injured four law enforcement officers. These alleged crimes are incomprehensibly evil and utterly repugnant to the values of this nation. Therefore this case is not only important to the victims and their loved ones, but to the city of Pittsburgh and the entire nation.
‘I want to express my thanks and admiration for the courage and professionalism of those officers who so quickly responded to this event, and especially to those that suffered wounds in the process. Our thanks is also extended to the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, the FBI, and the ATF for their outstanding response to this violent and deadly attack.
‘The Department of Justice, working with our state and local partners, will bring the full force of the law against anyone who would violate the civil rights of the American people and we are resolutely determined to achieve justice in this case,’ he said.
Prosecutors have already stated that they will seek the death penalty. President Trump has also made repeated calls for Bowers to be executed soon and not have his case drag through the courts for years.
Bowers was injured as he exchanged fire with police and SWAT team members at the synagogue over the weekend. He surrendered to them after being wounded.
As he prepared for his second court appearance, mourners were preparing to bury another three of his victims.
Bernice and Sylvan Simon, who had been married for 62 years, will be laid to rest in a joint funeral in Pittsburgh.
The couple got married in the Tree of Life in 1956. They had two adult sons and were grandparents. Neighbors said they often held hands and were always smiling.
Richard Gottfried, another of the victims, will also be buried in a separate ceremony.
They are the seventh, eight and ninth victims to be buried this week. Rose Mallinger, 97, was the oldest. Her funeral is on Friday.
Daniel Stein, 71, will be buried in a private ceremony.
Victims: Sylvan Simon, 86, and his wife Bernice Simon, 84,who had been married for 62 years, will be laid to rest in a joint funeral in Pittsburgh.
In the 62nd year of their marriage Sylvan Simon, 86, and his wife Bernice Simon, 84, were sitting in the back of the main sanctuary when the gunman opened fire. Sylvan, a retired accountant, was still recovering from recently breaking his arm and the couple had no time to escape.
They have two adult sons and grandchildren.
They were memorialized as pillars of the community who regularly helped out and would do ‘anything’ for their friends.
The pair got married in the Tree of Life in 1956 in a candlelit ceremony, had two adult sons and were grandparents. Neighbors said they often held hands and were always smiling. They will be laid to rest in a joint funeral in Pittsburgh.
Dentist Richard Gottfired, 65, was set to retire just before he was felled by a deranged gunman on Saturday
Richard Gottfried, 65, was preparing to retire from his dental practice and enjoy the next chapter of his life with his wife Peg.
He helped out at the synagogue, making sure the rabbis had everything they needed to lead services.
‘He died doing what he liked to do most,’ said Don Salvin, Gottfried’s brother-in-law said.
Rose Mallinger, 97, Rose was the oldest of the victims. She was also in the main sanctuary when she was gunned down.
She was among the most devout and was who immediately sprang to the minds of others when they heard about the shooting.
‘You’ve never met a more vivacious 97-year-old.
‘She was just so full of life. She had so much energy,’ Brian Schreiber, another member of the congregation, told The Post Gazzette.
97-yer-old Rose Mallinger, 97, [left], was the oldest of the congregants killed and beloved medical Jerry Rabinowitz, [right] was also shot by Bowers in the synagogue on Saturday
Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, was eulogized by his medical practice partner who said: ‘He is one of the finest people I’ve ever met.
‘We’ve been in practice together for 30 years and friends longer than that.
‘His patients are going to miss him terribly. His family is going to miss him terribly and I am going to miss him. He was just one of the kindest, finest people.’
Brothers David Rosenthal, 54, [left] and Cecil Rosenthal 59 [right], reportedly were preparing food for breakfast in the basement kitchen when they were attacked.
Brothers Cecil Rosenthal, 54, and David Rosenthal, 59, both suffered disabilities and were regular volunteers at the synagogue. On Saturday, they were preparing food for breakfast in the basement kitchen when they were attacked.
The pair lived together nearby.
Daniel Stein, 71, was described as a solid fixture in the Jewish community. Friends said he was proud of his faith and that it was important to him and his family.
On Sunday, his adult son Joe said it was the ‘worst day of his life’ discovering he was among the dead.
‘My dad’s life was taken at the Tree of Life shooting. My mom, sister and I are absolutely devastated and crushed.
‘Our lives now are going to have to take a different path, one that we thought would not happen for a long time.
‘My dad was a simple man and did not require much,’ he said, sharing a photograph of him with one of his grandchildren.
Daniel Stein, [left] was a pillar of faith in his community. Melvin Wax, [right], was killed when he stepped out of hiding because he no longer heard gunshots
88-year-old Melvin Wax, was one of three people who were killed downstairs. He was hiding in a closet with others from the New Light congregation when he went back into the room they had been in because he could no longer hear gunshots.
That is when he was confronted by the gunman and was shot three times.
Barry Werber, who had been hiding with him in the closet and survived, said he was a ‘gentleman’ who was always the first to arrive for services.
‘He was a gem. He was a gentleman . There was always a smile on his face,’ he said.
Neighbors of oe shooting victim, Irving Younger, said the 66-year-old father and a grandfather ‘never had an unkind word’ to say about anyone.
‘He was the most wonderful dad and grandpa. He talked about his daughter and his grandson, always, and he never had an unkind word to say about anybody,’ neighbor Tina Prizner remembers.
He went every day to the synagogue, where he was an usher, she said.
‘He was so kind. He was a beautiful person, a beautiful soul.’
Irving Younger, [left] an usher at the synagogue and Joyce Fienberg [right], a retired university researcher were among the 11 killed
Joyce Fienberg, 75, was a retired university researcher who left her job in 2008.
Former colleagues paid tribute to her as ‘magnificent, generous, caring and profoundly thoughtful.’
Her husband Stephen died after a battle with cancer in 2016. she is survived by her two sons and several grandchildren.