Stony-Faced, Silent Synagogue Shooting Suspect Held Without Bond

By Reuters
Reuters
Reuters
October 29, 2018 Updated: October 29, 2018

PITTSBURGH—Shackled and in a wheelchair, the man accused of shooting 11 worshipers to death at a Pittsburgh synagogue made a stony-faced and largely silent appearance on Oct. 29, in a federal courtroom, where he was ordered held without bond for the deadliest attack ever on America’s Jewish community.

Robert Bowers, 46, who was wounded in a gunfight with police at the synagogue on Saturday, acknowledged the 29 charges against him, which could lead to his execution if found guilty.

Bowers, who has a history of posting anti-Semitic material online, will get a court-appointed attorney and was remanded to the custody of U.S. marshals. His next hearing is set for Thursday.

“Robert Bowers murdered 11 people who were exercising their religious beliefs,” Attorney Scott Brady said after the arraignment, adding that a grand jury would hear details of the crime within 30 days.

Bowers’ arraignment was marked by a heavy security presence that included police officers with dogs and a team of sharpshooters at the federal court in Pittsburgh.

Wearing a blue sweatshirt, gray sweatpants, sandals, and white socks, with a crewcut and bald spot, Bowers remained expressionless throughout the short hearing.

The charges against him include violation of civil rights laws in what federal prosecutors say was a hate crime.

Bowers only spoke during the hearing to give his name, state that he understood the charges against him, and to say that he lacked the funds to pay for an attorney to represent him.

He spoke in a calm voice and signed the papers handed to him with a steady hand.

Only at the end of the hearing when he was wheeled out of the courtroom did Bowers appear unsettled, turning his head in apparent confusion.

By Steve Gorman and Nick Zieminski

Reuters