PITTSBURGH – The suspect in the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre pleaded not guilty to dozens of charges on Monday while his new lawyer, a prominent death penalty curator who was one of the bombers of the Boston Marathon, reported that it could be open to a reason
Robert Bowers, a truck driver who according to authorities killed 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue, appeared in the federal court with attorney Judy Clarke, who expressed hope that the case will be solved without a trial.
Clarke is known to have negotiated plea bargains that have helped some of the most notorious killers to avoid death row, including Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Atlanta bomber Eric Rudolph and Arizona shooter Jared Lee Loughner, who he killed six people and injured another 13 people, including the American representative Gabrielle Giffords. A jury has condemned to death the marathoner Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, whom Clarke has represented,
A spokeswoman for federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh said that a decision on how to prosecute the death penalty against Bowers remains under review. The American lawyer Troy Rivetti said in court that if Bowers opts for a trial, it could last about three weeks, excluding any potential penalty phase.
Bowers, who was chained, said little, giving yes or no answers.
A grand jury of January 29 added 19 counts to the 44 Bowers he was already facing. Additional charges include violations of hate crimes, obstruction of religious beliefs and use of firearms during crimes of violence.
Bowers, 46, of Baldwin, Pennsylvania, is accused of targeting the faithful from three Jewish congregations when he attacked Saturday, October 27, during the Sabbath services.
Seven people were wounded, including five policemen.
Donna Coufal, a member of the congregation of Dor Hadash occupying space for the Tree of Life, said she was witnessing Monday's denunciation "to testify It was a painful period, but we remain strong as a community."
The investigators claim that Bowers has criticized a Jewish charitable association on social media before the attack, claiming that the immigrant aid society "loves bringing invaders that kill our people." The authorities said that it was unleashed against the Jews while killing its victims and told investigators "all these Jews must die".
Bowers was imprisoned in Butler County Prison, about 35 miles (55 kilometers) north of the scene.