Synagogue Shooting Suspect Makes Brief Court Appearance

This undated Pennsylvania Department of Transportation photo shows Robert Bowers, the suspect in the deadly shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. (Pennsylvania Department of Transportation via AP)

(CN) – The man accused of killing 11 people in the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in Pittsburgh appeared briefly in court on Monday afternoon to accept representation by a public defender.

Robert Bowers arrived at the federal courthouse in Pittsburgh hours before his scheduled 1:30 p.m. hearing before Magistrate Robert Mitchell, and he arrived in the courtroom in a wheelchair wearing a blue top and gray pants.

Waiting for him there was a crush of reporters, public defender Michael Novara, U.S. Attorney Scott Brady, and several members of his staff.

As the proceedings got underway, one of Bowers’ hands was uncuffed so that he could take notes.

Magistrate Mitchell then read the 29 counts filed against Bowers by the U.S. Attorney’s office.

They include 11 counts of obstruction of exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death; 11 counts of use of a firearm to commit murder during a crime of violence; four counts of obstruction of exercise of religious beliefs resulting in bodily injury to a public safety officer and three counts of use and discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence.

Bowers also faces multiple state charges, including 11 counts of criminal homicide; six counts of attempted homicide; six counts of aggravated assault and 13 counts of ethnic intimidation.

Another hearing has been scheduled for Thursday at 10 a.m.

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