Trial begins for accused shooter in 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue massacre

A makeshift memorial stands outside the Tree of Life Synagogue in the aftermath of a deadly shooting in Pittsburgh, October 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
A makeshift memorial stands outside the Tree of Life Synagogue in the aftermath of a deadly shooting in Pittsburgh, October 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

The federal jury trial of the suspect in the nation’s deadliest antisemitic attack gets underway today, four and a half years after the shooting deaths of 11 worshipers at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

Twelve jurors and six alternates — chosen last week after a month of questioning of more than 200 jury candidates — are hearing the case against Robert Bowers. The jurors consist of 11 women and seven men.

Bowers, 50, could face the death penalty if convicted of some of the 63 counts he faces in the Oct. 27, 2018, attack at the Tree of Life synagogue building. The attack claimed the lives of 11 worshipers from three congregations sharing the building, Dor Hadash, New Light and Tree of Life. Charges include 11 counts each of obstruction of free exercise of religion resulting in death and hate crimes resulting in death.

Members of the three synagogues arrive at the courthouse in a school bus and go inside together.

The families of those killed are divided over whether the government should pursue the death penalty, but most have voiced support for it.

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