PITTSBURGH — A truck driver accused of killing 11 people and wounding seven during an attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue in October is expected to appear Monday morning in a federal courtroom to be arraigned on additional charges.
The hearing in Robert Bowers’ case is expected to be short and involves giving him formal notice of the criminal charges issued in a new indictment.
A grand jury on Jan. 29 added 19 counts to the 44 he had faced in the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue building. The additional charges include hate crimes violations, obstruction of religious belief and the use of a firearm during crimes of violence.
Bowers, 46, of Baldwin, Pennsylvania, is accused of targeting worshippers from three Jewish congregations when he attacked Saturday, Oct. 27, while Sabbath services were being held.
Seven people were wounded in the rampage, including five police officers.
Investigators say Bowers posted criticism of a Jewish charity on social media before the attack, claiming the immigrant aid society “likes to bring invaders that kill our people.” Authorities said he told investigators that “all these Jews need to die.”
Bowers has been incarcerated in the Butler County Prison, about 35 miles (55 kilometres) north of the shooting scene. If convicted of the most serious offences, he could be sentenced to life without parole.
A spokeswoman for federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh said a decision about whether to pursue the death penalty against Bowers remains under review.
Messages left for defence lawyers listed in the court record were not returned.
The Associated Press