Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooter Found Guilty on All Counts

news 17-Jun-2023 Usa News

Almost five years after a deadly attack on a synagogue in Pittsburgh, the gunman has been found guilty of all 63 charges, including hate crimes with deadly consequences. The 50-year-old far-right extremist previously pleaded guilty and may face the death penalty. The sentencing will be decided in a second part of the trial that could last for several weeks.

The shooter, armed with a semi-automatic rifle and three pistols, entered the "Tree of Life" synagogue on October 27, 2018, when members of three Jewish communities were gathered for the Sabbath and opened fire. He killed eleven people and injured two others. The attacker also harmed several police officers before being shot and arrested. He shouted anti-Semitic slogans throughout the attack.

Attacker Targeted Victims Methodically

According to US media, the prosecution accused the man of methodically pursuing his victims. "Once he walked into the synagogue, the defendant began to hunt, room by room, up and down," said prosecutor Soo Song. He was targeting Jewish believers that he could kill.

The defense did not deny that the defendant had fired the shots. However, they argued that he suffered from schizophrenia and did not act out of anti-Semitic motives. Instead, they claimed that the man wanted to force a Jewish organization to end their support for immigrants. "His unimaginable, senseless, irrational thinking was that he could accomplish his goal by killing Jews," said lawyer Judy Clarke.

Prosecution Rejects Plea Deal

The sentencing will be determined in the second part of the trial. The defense had proposed a plea deal, suggesting that the defendant could plead guilty if the death penalty was off the table. However, the prosecution rejected the deal.

Approximately six million Jews live in the US, and anti-Semitic attacks are not uncommon. Last year, the non-governmental organization Anti-Defamation League recorded 3,697 anti-Semitic incidents, including harassment, vandalism, and violent attacks. This is an increase of 36% compared to the previous year, marking the highest number since the statistics began in 1979.

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