Death Sentence in Pittsburgh
The man responsible for the 2018 Tree of Life synagogue mass shooting in Pittsburgh, where 11 Jewish worshippers were murdered and seven others injured, was effectively sentenced to death yesterday by a federal jury, pending a judge's formal imposition.
The same jury found the 50-year-old assailant guilty of 63 federal counts in June, 22 of which made him eligible for the death penalty (see timeline of incident). During the sentencing trial, prosecutors pursuing the death penalty pointed to the defendant's lack of remorse, arguing his crimes stemmed from deep-seated, antisemitic prejudices. Conversely, the defense emphasized his difficult childhood and likely mental illness in seeking a life sentence.
Capital punishment is legal in 24 US states; the Justice Department paused federal executions in 2021. Sixteen people have been executed by various states so far this year, with 11 more scheduled, including tonight's planned lethal injection of convicted murderer James Barnes in Florida.