St. Louis, Mo., Aug 3, 2023 / 10:30 am
The shooter who killed nearly a dozen in an antisemitic 2018 massacre was sentenced to death Wednesday by a federal jury. He is the first person to be condemned to death under the Biden administration, which placed the federal death penalty under moratorium in 2021.
The October 2018 shooting saw Robert G. Bowers, 50, enter Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue during morning Shabbat prayer services. He killed 11 and injured several, including police officers. Bowers’ attorneys argued that he suffers from mental illness, a suggestion that prosecutors disputed.
As a candidate for president, Joe Biden, a Catholic, called for the elimination of the death penalty. In July 2021, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a moratorium on federal executions while the Department of Justice conducts a review of its policies and procedures.
Although the department said no executions will take place while the reviews are conducted, the moratorium does not formally end federal executions and they could be legally resumed by this or a future administration.