Suspect in Pittsburgh synagogue shooting pleads not guilty


(JTA) — The suspect in the shooting attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue that left 11 worshippers dead pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Thursday morning in a federal courtroom.

Robert Bowers also requested a jury trial in the case, which includes 44 charges, 32 of them punishable by death.

Bowers, his arm bandaged, walked into the courtroom in a red prison jumpsuit and handcuffs. In a court appearance earlier this week he used a wheelchair.

CBS affiliate KDKA reporter Andy Sheehan described Bowers, 46, as “looking unpenitent. Perhaps somewhat defiant.”

The charges against Bowers include the obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death and using a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a crime of violence. They also include federal hate crime charges.

Federal prosecutors are seeking approval to pursue the death penalty against Bowers.

Bowers, who is in jail without bail, faces  a penalty of death or life without parole, followed by a consecutive prison sentence of 535 years.

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