Robert Gregory Bowers, 47, the sole suspect in the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue mass shooting that on Shabbat, October 27, 2018, killed eleven people and injured four, will not be in court on Monday as federal prosecutors and the defense review the progress of his case. According to the Associated Press, the prosecution is yet to decide whether or not to seek the death penalty for Bowers.
Bowers appeared in federal court in Pittsburgh on October 29, 2018, to hear the charges against him. He was assigned a court appointed attorney, Judy Clarke, and was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshals Service without bail.
Bowers was indicted on 44 counts by the federal grand jury on October 31. The charges carry a maximum penalty of death or 535 years in federal prison. The counts include hate crimes, 11 counts of obstruction of exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death, 11 counts of use of a firearm to commit murder during a crime of violence, four counts of obstruction of exercise of religious beliefs resulting in bodily injury to a public safety officer, and three counts of use and discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence.
Bowers entered a plea of not guilty.
On January 29, 2019, the grand jury indicted Bowers on an additional 19 counts, 13 of which were for hate crimes.
On February 11, 2019, Bowers was arraigned in federal court.
Bowers was also charged with 36 state criminal counts, including 11 counts of criminal homicide, 6 counts of aggravated assault, 6 counts of attempted criminal homicide, and 13 counts of ethnic intimidation.
Robert Bowers’ parents divorced when he was one year old. His father committed suicide when Robert was 6. His mother remarried when Robert was a toddler, and he lived with her in Florida until she separated a year later. Back in Pennsylvania, Robert and his mother lived with his mother’s parents in Whitehall. His grandparents raised him, because his mother was ill. He dropped out of high school and worked as a trucker. Neighbors described Bowers as “a ghost” and said he rarely interacted with others.