By DAVE DOWNEY
Robert Bowers, the man accused of murdering 11 people in a hate-fueled massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh last Saturday entered a plea of not guilty in a federal courtroom Thursday.
“The possible penalties,” he was informed by Troy Rivetti, one of the prosecutors, “are first a sentence of death.” Bowers did not flinch. Other than death, possible outcomes are a variety of prison sentences from 10 years to life, connected to the 44 counts with which he is charged.
Those charges vary from hate crimes to using a firearm to commit murder in a crime of violence.
It is somewhat surprising how many other stories within the news are taking precedence over this, the deadliest anti-Semitic event in the U.S. since World War II.
Although the general election is under a week away, this is the major news story of the week, and most outlets are analyzing ads and Trump’s tweets over the impacts within and outside of the Steel City.
Bowers’ lawyer, Michael Novara, a federal public defender, requested a jury trial, which prosecutors estimated could take three to four weeks, or even longer if U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions certified it to indeed be a capital case.