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Final deliberations to begin in Pittsburgh synagogue shooter’s trial

The final witness to testify was the convicted killer’s aunt, who apologized to victims and their loved ones.

Local residents knitted and hung Stars of David along the Murray Avenue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh after the mass shooting at the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue on Oct. 27, 2018. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Local residents knitted and hung Stars of David along the Murray Avenue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh after the mass shooting at the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue on Oct. 27, 2018. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Patricia Fine, the aunt of Robert Bowers, who was convicted of murdering 11 people at the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Oct. 27, 2018, told victims and their loved ones that she could not imagine their grief and pain. “I am so sorry for the entire victim community,” she said. “I will be sorry every day of my life that I didn’t realize the help he needed.”

Fine’s remarks on Monday afternoon concluded the final testimony phase of the trial of her 50-year-old nephew. After closing statements on Tuesday morning, the jury will deliberate and consider whether or not Bowers should be executed.

If spared execution, Bowers would likely be confined for 23 hours daily and be allowed two 15-minute phone calls a month. At U.S. Penitentiary, Administrative Maximum Facility in Colorado, where he would likely go, he would have a toilet that flushes twice hourly and would be allowed no visits with physical contact. That’s what Maureen Baird, a consultant who was formerly a prison warden, testified last week.

Other witnesses last week provided further perspective on Bowers’s history and potential mental state.

Jeffrey Dillinger, pastor of the Whitehall Church of Christ in Pittsburgh, testified that the defendant expressed interest in Christianity in 2016, particularly in the Book of Revelation.

Dr. George Corvin, a psychiatrist, testified that Bowers told him he previously had a ghost in his apartment that caused light bulbs to go out on Sundays and that he slept with a shotgun beside his bed, fearing U.N. military personnel in Blue Helmets would come for him.

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