STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect pleads not guilty to federal charges

Defense attorneys for the suspect in the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre entered a plea of not guilty Thursday...

Posted: Nov 1, 2018 4:38 PM
Updated: Nov 1, 2018 4:38 PM

Defense attorneys for the suspect in the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre entered a plea of not guilty Thursday to federal charges and requested a jury trial.

Robert Bowers, 46, walked into court in wrist, waist and ankle restraints Thursday, with a large bandage on his upper left arm. He suffered multiple gunshot wounds during a shootout with police and was released from the hospital three days ago.

2018 Pittsburgh synagogue attack

Anti-semitism

Belief, religion and spirituality

Continents and regions

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Crimes against persons

Criminal law

Criminal offenses

Discrimination

Domestic terrorism

Hate crimes

Homicide

Indictments

International relations and national security

Law and legal system

Law courts and tribunals

Mass murder

Murder

National security

North America

Northeastern United States

Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh

Racism and racial discrimination

Shootings

Societal issues

Society

Terrorism

Terrorism and counter-terrorism

The Americas

United States

Unrest, conflicts and war

Violence in society

Dentistry

Health and medical

Medical fields and specialties

Misc people

Robert Bowers

Court trials

Trial and procedure

Thursday marked his second court appearance this week after a federal grand jury indicted him on 44 federal charges in last weekend's slaying of 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue.

During the arraignment, Bowers watched prosecutors and nodded periodically. He responded "yes" that he understood the penalties of the charges, and his public defender, Michael J. Novara, entered a plea of not guilty, "as is typical," he said.

Of the 44 charges, 32 counts are punishable by death, a grand jury filing released Wednesday said.

The court hearing comes the same day that crowds of mourners will lay more victims to rest and as their memorials continue to grow.

On Monday, Bowers had been brought to the courtroom in a wheelchair and only spoke to answer the judge's questions. Bowers was appointed a local public defender Wednesday.

He is being held at the Butler County Jail without bond.

Suspect indicted in federal crimes

"Today begins the process of seeking justice for the victims of these hateful acts, and healing for the victims' families, the Jewish community, and our city," US Attorney Scott Brady said in a statement.

Bowers is charged with 11 counts each of obstruction of the free exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death and use of a firearm to commit murder during a crime of violence, a conviction on any of which could be punishable by death, according to the indictment.

He faces 10 other potential death penalty charges, according to the federal indictment:

  • Two counts of obstruction of the free exercise of religious beliefs involving an attempt to kill and use of a dangerous weapon, resulting in bodily injury;

  • Eight counts of obstruction of the free exercise of religious beliefs involving an attempt to kill and use of a dangerous weapon, resulting in bodily injury to a public safety officer.

The remaining charges are use of a firearm during a crime of violence (two counts), possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence (nine counts) and obstruction of the free exercise of religious beliefs involving use of a dangerous weapon and resulting in bodily injury to a public safety officer (one count).

"Every American has the right to attend their house of worship in safety," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement announcing the indictment. "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."

Married couple and devoted dentist remembered

In Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood where the mass shooting occurred, families and members of the Jewish community in the city and around the nation are rallying together to honor the victims of the massacre.

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 Simons were the "sweetest people you could imagine," a neighbor who lived next to them for nearly 40 years said.

Bernice, 84, was a former nurse, who loved classical music and devoted time to charitable work, and her husband, Sylvan, 86, was a retired accountant with a good sense of humor, CNN affiliate WPIX reported.

"They held hands and they would always smile. He would open the door for her, you know all those things that you want from another person," another neighbor, Heather Graham, told CNN affiliate WTAE. "They were really generous and nice with everybody,"

Gottfried, 65, was a husband, a brother and a compassionate hand who helped many in his community.

Gottfried and his wife had a dental practice, but he was getting ready to retire.

He volunteered at the Catholic Charities free clinic for more than nine years and was part of a group of dentists and specialists who offer educational lectures and workshops in dentistry. Gottfried and his wife also helped prepare interfaith couples for marriage through the St. Athanasius Church.

"He was about helping everybody," Catholic Charities of Pittsburgh Executive Director Susan Raucher told CNN affiliate KDKA. "Everywhere he could possibly be helpful, he was taking those hours and absolutely doing that. Regardless of source or background or any of that sort of things."

More funerals for the shooting victims are planned in Pittsburgh in the coming days.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 16041

Reported Deaths: 767
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds103526
Lauderdale74568
Madison74525
Neshoba70742
Jones66331
Scott66112
Forrest59439
DeSoto5538
Leake44712
Rankin4468
Holmes43928
Copiah3154
Jackson30813
Attala30318
Yazoo2864
Newton2824
Leflore27334
Lincoln27029
Monroe26525
Harrison2637
Oktibbeha25314
Lamar2485
Lowndes2309
Wayne2242
Pearl River21131
Pike20411
Adams20015
Noxubee1916
Washington1917
Warren18110
Covington1732
Jasper1654
Lee1657
Bolivar16511
Clarke15419
Smith15311
Kemper14711
Lafayette1414
Chickasaw13714
Coahoma1274
Winston1211
Marion1179
Carroll11711
Clay1154
Claiborne1122
Lawrence1061
Simpson1020
Grenada993
Yalobusha966
Tate951
Hancock9112
Itawamba897
Wilkinson859
Union857
Sunflower853
Montgomery851
Panola843
Marshall813
Jefferson Davis803
Tippah7611
Webster683
Calhoun674
Amite641
Walthall610
Humphreys597
Tunica563
Prentiss563
Perry513
Choctaw482
Pontotoc433
Jefferson431
Tishomingo340
Quitman340
Stone310
Franklin292
Tallahatchie291
George261
Greene221
Alcorn181
Benton140
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 18474

Reported Deaths: 651
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2283118
Jefferson1882103
Montgomery180243
Tuscaloosa81616
Marshall7059
Franklin5768
Lee55234
Shelby52220
Tallapoosa43166
Butler41618
Walker3782
Elmore3739
Chambers35826
Madison3444
Morgan2971
Baldwin2929
Unassigned2922
Dallas2823
Etowah26112
DeKalb2563
Lowndes25512
Autauga2395
Coffee2381
Sumter2267
Houston2235
Bullock2136
Pike2080
Colbert1872
Hale1789
Russell1770
Barbour1751
Marengo1746
Lauderdale1672
Calhoun1653
Choctaw15310
Wilcox1527
Cullman1501
Clarke1482
St. Clair1311
Randolph1287
Marion12411
Dale1230
Pickens1215
Talladega1175
Limestone1080
Chilton1041
Greene954
Winston910
Macon864
Jackson833
Henry812
Covington811
Crenshaw783
Bibb761
Escambia743
Washington726
Blount631
Lawrence510
Monroe442
Geneva430
Perry420
Conecuh411
Coosa401
Cherokee383
Clay282
Lamar260
Fayette160
Cleburne151
Tupelo
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 73°
Columbus
Broken Clouds
74° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 74°
Oxford
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 68°
Starkville
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 70°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather