Government calls for death sentence in Pittsburgh synagogue massacre



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A man accused of killing 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue should incur the death penalty when he is found guilty, state prosecutors said Monday.

The US Attorney's Office in Pittsburgh has filed a notice of intent to seek the death sentence against Robert Bowers, 46, in last year's attack.

According to the Government, the death penalty was allegedly motivated by allegations of substantial planning and premeditation, vulnerability and the number of victims and incitement to religious hostility.

He also listed the damage, harm and loss caused to the victims and the choice of the Tree of Life synagogue as the site of the attack.

The notice accused Bowers of targeting the faithful "in order to maximize the devastation, to amplify the damage caused by his crimes and to inspire fear within the local, national and international Jewish communities".

Bowers pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial. His lawyers did not return messages asking for comment. A spokesman for US Attorney Scott Brady declined to discuss the filing.

Prosecutors have written that the death penalty would be justified if Bowers was found guilty of obstructing the free exercise of his religious beliefs resulting in death or the use of a firearm to commit a crime of violence.

Bowers is accused of using an AR-15 rifle and other weapons to target worshipers at the Tree of Life synagogue during Saturday morning services in October. Seven people were also injured, including five police officers.

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Monument to the victims of the shooting in the Pittsburgh synagogue

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People are holding candles as they gather for a wake following a deadly shootout against the Tree of Life congregation in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh on Saturday, October 27, 2018. (AP Photo / Matt Rourke )

A crowd attends a memorial ceremony at the Sixth Presbyterian Church, in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh, for the victims of the fatal shooting in the synagogue of the Tree of Life, where a gunman opened the fire earlier, Saturday, October 27, 2018. (AP Photo / Gene J. Puskar)

A crowd meets at the intersection of Murray Ave. and Forbes Ave. in the section of Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh at a memorial vigil for victims of the shootings in the synagogue of the Tree of Life, where a gunman opened fire earlier in the day on Saturday 27 October 2018. (AP Photo / Gene J. Puskar)

A crowd holds candles on the lawn of the Sixth Presbyterian Church at the intersection of Murray Ave. and Forbes Ave. in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh at a memorial vigil in honor of the victims of the shootings in the Tree of Life synagogue, when a gunman opened fire earlier in the day on Saturday October 27, 2018. (AP Photo / Gene J. Puskar)

A crowd meets at the intersection of Murray Ave. and Forbes Ave. in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh at a memorial vigil in honor of the victims of the shootings in the Tree of Life synagogue, when a gunman opened fire earlier in the day on Saturday October 27, 2018. (AP Photo / Gene J. Puskar)

A couple kisses at the intersection of Murray Ave. and Forbes Ave. in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh, during a commemorative vigil for the victims of the Tree of Life synagogue shootout, where a gunman opened fire, killing several people and injuring others, including several police officers, Saturday, October 27, 2018. (AP Photo / Gene J. Puskar)

A young boy holds a sign at the intersection of Murray Ave. and Forbes Ave. in the section of Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh during a memorial vigil in the honor of the victims of the fatal shooting against the synagogue of the Tree of Life, where a gunman opened fire, making several dead and several wounded, including several policemen, Saturday, October 27, 2018. (AP Photo / Gene J. Puskar)

Holding candles, a group of girls are waiting for the start of a commemorative vigil at the intersection of Murray Ave. and Forbes Ave. in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh, for the victims of the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue where a gunman opened fire, killing several people and injuring others, including police officers, several police officers, Saturday, October 27 2018. (AP Photo / Gene J. Puskar)




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Police said he had expressed his hatred against the Jews during and after the most lethal attack on Jews in the history of the United States.

Shortly after the shooting, before Bowers was publicly identified as the suspect, President Donald Trump said the author should "suffer the ultimate price".

"I think they should really put the death penalty in vogue," Trump told the press in October. "Anyone who does such a thing to innocent people who are in the temple or at the church.We have had so many incidents with churches.They should really suffer the consequences."

Two weeks ago, prosecutors and defense lawyers agreed to extend the 120-day procedure.

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