Suspect in US Synagogue shooting pleads not guilty, demands trial

Geraldine Edwards
November 2, 2018

This courtroom sketch depicts Robert Bowers as he appeared in a wheelchair in federal court on Monday.

On Wednesday, US prosecutors added a further 15 charges to the 29 Mr Bowers already faces, making a total of 44. He told a prosecutor he had read the indictment.

The case against Bowers will be prosecuted first in federal court, with the US Justice Department saying it was in the national interest to protect freedom of religion, which is guaranteed under the US Constitution.

A drained-looking Tree of Life Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, a survivor of the weekend shooting, hurried from service to service.

Pittsburgh police stand guard as the casket of Irving Younger, 69, is wheeled from Congregation Rodef Shalom after his funeral on October 31, 2018, in Pittsburgh.

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Bowers' arraignment came on the same day three more victims of the massacre in Pittsburgh's historically Jewish Squirrel Hill neighborhood were laid to rest.

The Simons were the "sweetest people you could imagine", a neighbor who lived next to them for almost 40 years said.

This is the Pennsylvania Driver's License photo of Pittsburgh synagogue suspect Robert Bowers, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the investigation. Jerry Rabinowitz at the Jewish Community Center in Squirrel Hill. A pair of brothers and a husband and wife were among those killed.

Tree of Life remained a crime scene.

In addition to the 11 people who were killed on Saturday, two congregants were critically injured.

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Although Bowers is reported to have posted numerous anti-Trump rants online, the president has been accused of stoking violence with his fiery rhetoric.

Trump traveled to the historic hub of the city's Jewish community as the first funerals were held for the victims, who range in age from 54 to 97.

Mourners gathered on Wednesday for the funerals of Melvin Wax, 88, who was leading Sabbath services for one of the temple's three congregations when the attack began; retired real estate agent Irving Younger, 69; and retired university researcher Joyce Fienberg, 75.

After the meeting, they placed a small stone on 11 stars outside the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill, where the shooting occurred.

Three more funerals were held on Wednesday, followed on Thursday by the burial of another three victims - Sylvan Simon, 86, and his wife, Bernice, 84, who had been married for almost 62 years, and Dr. Richard Gottfried, 65, a dentist, who shared a practice with his wife, Peg.

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The official wasn't authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity to the AP. The package " was intercepted at an Atlanta post office", CNN President Jeff Zucker said in a memo to staffers.

Rose Mallinger's funeral was scheduled for Friday.

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