Robert Bowers trial: Defense requests 2 sentencing phases in case of guilty verdict

PITTSBURGH — Attorneys for the suspect charged in the Tree of Life synagogue shooting believe that his sentencing should be separated into two phases if he is found guilty.

According to our partners at TribLIVE.com, the reason for this request is so jurors in the case are not improperly influenced by victim impact testimony.

A motion to separate the proceedings was filed by Robert Bowers’ defense team Nov. 30.

The Trib said the victim impact testimony involves all 11 victims who were killed and the 27 survivors, including 12 law enforcement personnel.

According to the Trib, the government objected to the defense’s request, and said it is exceedingly rare.

“The jury should not be exposed to this powerful evidence prior to deciding whether Mr. Bowers is eligible for the death penalty in the first instance,” the defense wrote in a court filing. “The defendant’s speculative allegations of unfair prejudice are insufficient to justify the drastic and disruptive remedy he seeks, especially given the substantial risks of jury confusion and delay attendant to bifurcation of the penalty phase.”

Bowers is facing 63 counts. His trial is scheduled to begin April 24, 2023.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

Download the FREE WPXI News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Channel 11 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch WPXI NOW