Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

A jury deliberates over the sentence for the Tree of Life synagogue shooter

A Star of David hands from a fence outside the dormant landmark Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in July.
Gene J. Puskar
A Star of David hands from a fence outside the dormant landmark Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in July.

Updated August 1, 2023 at 5:23 PM ET

A jury is weighing whether to sentence the man convicted of killing 11 Jewish worshipers and wounding six other people at the Tree of Life synagogue in 2018 to the death penalty or life in prison. The attack is the deadliest antisemitic assault in U.S. history.

Robert Bowers, 50, of Baldwin, Pa., was found guilty on 63 federal counts in June, including 11 counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death. Of those, 22 counts carried the possibility of the death penalty.

The jury found Bowers eligible for the death penalty last month.

The victims killed by Bowers included Joyce Fienberg, Richard Gottfried, Rose Mallinger, Jerry Rabinowitz, brothers Cecil Rosenthal and David Rosenthal, husband and wife Sylvan and Bernice Simon, Daniel Stein, Melvin Wax, and Irving Younger.

They belonged to three congregations that worshiped at the Tree of Life synagogue: Congregation Dor Hadash, New Light Congregation and Tree of Life or L'Simcha.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit

Corrected: August 1, 2023 at 12:00 AM EDT
An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that the jury gave Robert Bowers the death penalty. In fact, the jury had not announced a verdict.
Oliver Morrison is a general assignment reporter at WESA. He previously covered education, environment and health for PublicSource in Pittsburgh and, before that, breaking news and weekend features for the Wichita Eagle in Kansas.
Julia Zenkevich reports on Allegheny County government for 90.5 WESA. She first joined the station as a production assistant on The Confluence, and more recently served as a fill-in producer for The Confluence and Morning Edition. She’s a life-long Pittsburgher, and attended the University of Pittsburgh. She can be reached at