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Pittsburgh congregation at shul where shooter killed 11 asks his life be spared

In letter to attorney general, president of Congregation Dor Hadash says community hopes Robert Bowers receives multiple life sentences, not death penalty

A mother hugs her son in front of a memorial at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on October 27, 2019. (AP/Gene J. Puskar)
A mother hugs her son in front of a memorial at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on October 27, 2019. (AP/Gene J. Puskar)

JTA — Don’t give the Pittsburgh synagogue gunman the death penalty.

That’s the request of one of the congregations based in the building targeted by the white supremacist who killed 11 worshipers in a 2018 attack.

The president of Congregation Dor Hadash, Bruce Herschlag, made the request of US Attorney General Merrick Garland in a letter sent last week, the WESA radio station reported Friday. Garland is Jewish.

Justice in the ongoing trial of Robert Bowers, 49, should be achieved “in a manner that is both consistent with our religious values and that spares us from the painful ordeal of prolonged legal maneuvering,” Herschlag wrote in the June 17 letter.

“The imposition of multiple life sentences would ensure that the perpetrator is never released. This is the outcome we desire.”

Bowers is on trial for the killings on October 27, 2018 — the deadliest antisemitic attack on US soil. Then-president Donald Trump said Bowers should get the death penalty.

Driver’s license photo of Pittsburgh synagogue massacre suspect Robert Bowers (Pennsylvania DOT)

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