Pittsburgh synagogue shooting pleads not guilty

Wearing a red jumpsuit and a bandage on his left arm, the suspect in the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting rampage that left 11 people dead made a brief appearance in federal court Thursday for arraignment on a 44-count indictment, including hate crimes.   Unlike his first court appearance, 46-year-old Robert Bowers walked into court and was not using a wheelchair.  Bowers, unshackled, shook hands with his attorney and appeared to be looking at the indictment. He glanced around the room while walking to the table, but said nothing.  He leaned forward to listen as U.S. Attorney Rivetti

Authorities say a heavily armed Bowers walked into the Tree of Life Synagogue in the city’s affluent Squirrel Hill neighborhood Saturday morning as services were beginning. He shouted anti-Semitic epithets and started shooting.   In addition to those killed, two in the synagogue were wounded. Police arrived, and four officers and Bowers were wounded in a gunbattle.

Funerals were planned Thursday for Bernice and Sylvan Simon, husband and wife, and Dr. Richard Gottfried, a dentist who worked part-time at a clinic treating refugees and immigrants. The oldest victim, 97-year-old Rose Mallinger, will be honored at a service Friday. Her daughter was injured in the attack.  Bowers, a 46-year-old truck driver, was released from the hospital hours before his first court appearance Monday. He appeared in court in a wheelchair and was being held without bail for the deadliest attack against the Jewish community in U.S. history.

Brady has said he is seeking the approval of  Attorney General Jeff Sessions to pursue a death penalty case against Bowers.  On Tuesday, President Donald Trump visited the city and was greeted by hundreds of protesters. The president honored a Jewish custom by placing stones on memorials outside the synagogue. Inside,  the president and the first lady, Melania Trump, lit candles in honor of each of the dead, the White House said.


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