Tree of Life shooting defendant must undergo psychiatric evaluation


As jury selection continues in the third week of the mass shooting trial at the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh, prosecutors for Robert Bowers will have an opportunity to refute the defendant’s attorney’s anticipated claims of a mental disorder .

Although that debate has dragged on for months, US District Judge Robert Colville ruled on May 8 that prosecutors can now conduct a mental health assessment of Bowers with their own experts. The assessment of the suspected mental state of the lone perpetrator will take place over four and a half days with a maximum of six hours a day.

Colville wrote that “state mental health experts should have the authority to examine the defendant where necessary and conclusive to refute or confirm the expected testimony of defense mental health experts.”

The defense alleges that Bowers suffers from schizophrenia, epilepsy and “structural and functional impairment of the brain.”

Eleven Jewish worshipers, most of them elderly, were shot dead during Shabbat morning services in October 2018 in the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in the US on record.

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