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Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect pleads not guilty federal hate crime charges

Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect pleads not guilty federal hate crime charges
Copyright  REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton
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Robert Bowers, the man accused of gunning down 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue during services Saturday morning, pleaded not guilty Thursday.

Bowers, 46, on Wednesday was indicted by a federal grand jury on a 44-count indictment including with murder, hate crime, obstructing the practice of religion and other charges.

On Thursday, he requested a trial by jury.

Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect Robert Bowers.

Prosecutors say Bowers entered the Tree of Life Synagogue with multiple firearms, including Glock .357-caliber handguns and a Colt AR-15 rifle, and made statements expressing his desire to "kill Jews" as he stalked his victims. He had a history of posting conspiracy theories about Jews and threatening Jewish communities online.

He was flanked by two U.S. marshals as he entered a federal courtroom Thursday wearing red prison scrubs, a bandage on his left arm and shackles on his hands and feet. He was largely emotionless, even when informed he could face the death penalty.

Government officials estimate the case could last about a month, or longer if it becomes a capital case. Bowers faces a possible death sentence or as much as 535 years in prison.

Funerals for the 11 victims began Tuesday, the same day President Donald Trump his wife, Melania, his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, attended memorials for the victims and visited the synagogue.

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