The man charged with opening fire in a Pittsburgh synagogue and killing 11 worshipers pleaded not guilty on Thursday in federal court to all 44 counts against him, including hate crimes and firearms offenses.
Robert Bowers, 46, an avowed antisemite, appeared defiant and determined in court. Dressed in a red jumpsuit and with a bandaged left arm, he walked into the courtroom with what appeared to be a swagger.
He spoke little, other than to say he understood the charges against him, and that some of them could result in the death penalty, followed by entering a plea of “not guilty.”
Bowers was injured during a shootout with police during the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood in what is believed to be the worst antisemitic attack in US history. He had appeared in court on Monday shackled to a wheelchair.
His appearance in court on Thursday came as funerals for three more victims were planned during the day.
Funerals will be held for Sylvan Simon, 86, his wife, Bernice, 84, and for Richard Gottfried, 65.
Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty against Bowers.
He is accused of bursting into the synagogue and opening fire with a semi-automatic rifle and three pistols in the midst of the Sabbath prayer service as he shouted, “All Jews must die.”
Six people, including four police officers, were wounded before the suspect was shot by police and surrendered.