The man convicted of killing 11 Jewish worshippers at Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Oct. 27, 2018 thought he acted heroically, Richard Rogers, a forensic psychologist, testified in federal court.
The death penalty is under consideration for Robert Bowers, now 50, whom Rogers evaluated over four days late last year.
Rogers said on June 29 that Bowers “also wanted medals” and that he was “blatantly psychotic.” Another forensic psychologist testified the prior day that the defendant was schizophrenic, had attempted suicide as a teenager and had been committed involuntarily.
Prosecutors insist that the massacre took significant time to plan and that Bowers made his intent explicit in wanting all Jews to die.
Dr. Siddhartha Nadkarni, a neuropsychiatrist with epilepsy expertise who analyzed Bowers for four hours, disagreed. “I don’t think he’s incapable of planning it out, but I think the reasons for planning it out are not reliable in his mind—in his brain,” he said.
Michael Williams, a Butler County Prison corrections officer, testified about his observations of Bowers’ behavior. The defendant does not have a cellmate and appears coherent in discussions. He watches a lot of news programs and seems to enjoy coverage of his trial, seeming to smirk when he sees it, Williams testified. Bowers seems not to like illegal immigration and is not on medication, he added.