Synagogue suspect indicted on 44 counts

Posted November 02, 2018

The suspect in the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre faces 44 federal charges - majority death penalty offenses - in the slaying of 11 worshippers during last weekend's Shabbat services, according to a grand jury filing released Wednesday.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he and first lady Melania Trump "were treated very nicely" during their Tuesday visit to Pittsburgh to pay their respects to victims of this weekend's anti-Semitic shooting.

Robert Bowers, 46, walked into court in wrist, waist and ankle restraints Thursday, with a large bandage on his upper left arm.

Bowers made his first court appearance Monday.

Bowers, who is stocky and square-faced with salt-and-pepper, closely cropped hair, frowned as the charges were read but did not appear to have a reaction as a federal prosecutor announced he could face a death sentence.

Bowers is jailed without bail.

Amid the first funerals for victims on Tuesday, Trump visited Tree of Life.

A conviction on the non-death penalty charges are each punishable by 20 years or life in prison. He said President Trump was right to call the massacre an act of anti-Semitism, but he said Trump's words and actions in coming weeks and months will be the test of his sincerity.

Police officers guard the Tree of Life synagogue following Saturday's shooting in Pittsburgh, Oct. 28, 2018.

Jodi Smith, a Pittsburgh native, joined mourners ahead of the Wax funeral at the Ralph Schugar Chapel and remembered him as a "very polite, gentle man".

But another Squirrel Hill resident, Shayna Marcus, a Jewish 34-year-old nurse and Trump supporter who hoped to catch sight of the presidential motorcade, said: "I don't think focusing on Trump is the answer, or on politics".

Federal investigators concluded that Bowers legally acquired and possessed all of the guns recovered from Tree of Life synagogue and his home, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Thousands gathered in Squirrel Hill to let Trump know that they didn't want him infringing on their grief as they tried to process the community's painful loss.

The third day of funerals for the victims will begin, with one celebrating the lives of Bernice and Sylvan Simon, while the funeral for Richard Gottfried is set for later Thursday afternoon.

The American president and his wife have visited the Jewish religious center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where a gunman killed 11 people on Saturday.

"I agree with the letter and even if he denounced it (white nationalism), I wouldn't believe him because he's a liar".

The protests and memorial vigils coincided with funerals for victims of Saturday's mass killing, one of the worst acts of anti-Semitic violence in the United States in recent memory.