Pittsburgh killer pleads not guilty, mother ‘loves Jews, hurts for Jewish community’

While Robert Bowers could face the death penalty if convicted of the heinous crime, victims’ families are just beginning the process of confronting their devastating loss.

By JNS.org and World Israel News Staff

Robert Bowers, the suspect in a horrific attack that claimed the lives of 11 people at the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue on Saturday, pleaded not guilty on Thursday to a 44-count indictment, which was issued against him the previous day.

“Yes!” shouted Robert Bowers, 46, when asked if he understood the charges.

Although the alleged gunman was set for a preliminary hearing on the evidence, federal prosecutors instead took the case to a grand jury.

If convicted, Bowers could face the death penalty.

This development comes as three more of the victims were laid to rest on Thursday: Richard Gottfried, 65, Sylvan Simon, 86, and Bernice Simon, 84.

Robert Bowers’ mother, identified by WPXI as Barbara Bolt, requested that her pastor, Mark Schollaert of Monongahela, Pennsylvania, express “how troubled and heartbroken she’s feeling about what happened,” reported the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

“[She’s] hurting for the Jewish community. [She] love[s] the Jewish people. It’s a hard thing,” Schollaert commented.