In the Thursday, May 30, issue of The Elizabethtown Advocate I read “Synagogue Massacre Defendant Wants Deal to Spare Life” by Ramesh Santanam, Associated Press. To my horror I was staring into the eyes of a mass murder. A cold blooded killer who gunned down eight men, three women and wounded seven others as they worshiped God during a Tree of Life worship service. The reporter said, “It was the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history.”
To this heinous crime Robert Bowers pleaded not guilty. Ironically, during his rampage, he expressed hatred of Jews and later told police that, “All these Jews need to die.” Assistant U.S. Attorney Troy Rivetti said the federal government’s death penalty review process is ongoing. The Department of Justice protocol is to seek the views of the victim’s family on a potential death penalty prosecution.
Gov. Tom Wolf ’s press secretary, J.J. Abbott, released the following statement at the time of the shootings: “This was a heinous crime and deserves swift justice and Governor Wolf has full confidence… the U.S. Attorney’s office will ensure that for the victims.” What Gov. Wolf means by swift justice for the victims is not clear, as currently in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania he has instituted a moratorium on the death penalty.
Judy Clark, the defense attorney, says she hopes the case against her client Robert Bowers can be resolved without a trial. Her client is guilty and she knows he is guilty
of the 63-count indictment brought against him. But this is what Clark is known for, negotiating plea bargains that have helped some of the nation’s most infamous killers avoid death row. I would describe Bowers as an infamous killer. How is justice served by not having a trial in exchange for a life sentence? Would justice have been served if the Nuremberg trials had not resulted in the hanging of the 10 men responsible for the Holocaust? Or if Adolf Eichmann had not been caught and brought to trial in Israel for his crimes against humanity? This is clearly an anti-Semitic hate crime that deserves a trial by a jury.