On Monday, the U.S. Justice Department filed its intent to seek the death penalty against a Pennsylvania man accused of killing 11 people at the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue.
CNN reports that Robert Bowers, 46, was indicted with over 60 federal offenses, which, in part, includes hate crime charges after he allegedly opened fire at the synagogue in October 2018, killing numerous worshippers. Bowen pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty after authorities said the suspect’s “anti-Semitic views” played a role in the massacre, according to the outlet.
“Robert Bowers expressed hatred and contempt toward members of the Jewish faith and his animus toward members of the Jewish faith played a role in the killings,” prosecutors said, Reuters reports.
Bowers is accused of targeting a location known as the oldest and largest synagogue in the U.S., in an area with a large Jewish population, Squirrel Hill.
Prosecutors wrote that Brown intentionally chose the location “to maximize the devastation, amplify the harm of his crimes and instill fear within the local, national and international Jewish communities.”
As CrimeOnline previously reported, one of the survivors, 76-year-old Barry Werber, hid in a closest while Bowers opened fire in the synagogue.
“I don’t know why he thinks the Jews are responsible for all the ills in the world, but he’s not the first and he won’t be the last,” Werber previously said. “Unfortunately, that’s our burden to bear. It breaks my heart.”
The victims ranged in ages from 54 to 77.
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