Jury released for day without reaching sentencing verdict in Pittsburgh synagogue shooting trial

PITTSBURGH — The jury deliberated for around seven hours Tuesday in the final phase of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting trial before being released for the day without reaching a sentencing verdict. They are expected to resume deliberations around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The defense and prosecution rested their cases and delivered closing arguments Monday.

The jury previously decided that Robert Bowers, who killed 11 worshippers in a Squirrel Hill synagogue in 2018, is eligible for the death penalty. They will now decide if he receives the death penalty or life in prison.

The decision to sentence him to death must be unanimous.

During closing arguments, the defense told jurors they do not excuse what Bowers did, but they again talked about his childhood — highlighting mental health issues within his family, the chaos and instability he faced as a child, threats from his parents and his own struggle with mental health as an adult.

In response to the defense’s call for mercy and the jury holding someone else’s life in their hands, the defense reminded the jury that Bowers committed the worst antisemitic mass shooting in US history and hadn’t expressed remorse.

If you or someone you know is experiencing mental health effects from the trial, go to 1027healingpartnership.org to find help resources. As always, call 911 to report threats.

4:37 p.m. Jury released for the day

The jury was released for the day after around seven hours of deliberations without reaching a sentencing verdict. They are expected to return to the court at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.

4:02 p.m. Jury deliberations reach 6.5 hours

The jury has been deliberating for six and a half hours.

12:34 p.m. Jury asks about exhibits

The jury has another question.

They ask if two exhibits were admitted as evidence. If so, they ask if they can have a copy.

The exhibits are already in evidence under other numbering, the jury is told.

The evidence they are asking about concerns family neurological mental health history.

10:25 a.m. Defense moves for mistrial, which judge denies

The jury asks the marshal questions about the weapons, including where a shotgun is loaded.

The defense moves for a mistrial, saying the information the marshal gave the jury was not evidence. The judge denied it and told the jury to disregard anything the marshal said to them.

9:36 a.m. Jury asks about weapons

Court staff indicates the jury has a question.

The question is about viewing the weapons.

The judge is going to arrange for the jury to view the weapons in the courtroom since they can’t send them back to the deliberations room. An FBI agent will monitor.

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