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Pittsburgh synagogue shooting jurors are deliberating the death penalty for the 2nd day

(JTA) — Jurors weighing whether Robert Bowers should be put to death for murdering 11 Jews in a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018 have entered their second day of deliberations.

The jurors spent almost all of Tuesday sequestered in deliberations, at one point emerging to request a viewing of the weapons that the gunman used when he attacked the Tree of Life synagogue building on Oct. 27, 2018, and at another point asking for more details about his family’s mental health history.

The jury ruled swiftly in each of the trial’s previous two phases. Jurors took less than five hours on June 16 to find the defendant guilty of all the charges against him. On July 13, they determined that his crimes made him eligible for the death penalty after less than two hours of deliberation.

The more extended deliberations in this third phase could reflect disagreement within the jury. If even a single juror decides that the defendant should not be executed, he will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The length of negotiations could also reflect the weighty and complex task before the jurors, who have been on the trial nearly full-time since the end of May.

As part of coming to a final conclusion about what punishment the gunman should receive, the jurors must complete a 26-page worksheet that requires them to note how many were convinced by each of 115 “mitigating factors,” or reasons the defense has offered for why he should not be executed, as well as nine “aggravating factors, or reasons the prosecution believes he deserves the death sentence.

Among the mitigating factors, the jurors must tally whether they believe Bowers has been a model inmate — a factor the prosecution argued against by saying that he would be less likely to be assigned to the harshest prison as a result — or whether his mother loves him.

Among the aggravating factors jurors must asses Bowers’ expressions of  “hatred and contempt toward members of the Jewish faith and his animus toward members of the Jewish faith played a role in the killings of the victims.”

Each juror must then weigh the mitigating factors against the aggravating factor, and determine which is preeminent.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Colville, who has presided over the trial is bound to accept the jury’s verdict when issuing the final sentence. He has indicated that he will allow victims to address the court between the jury’s decision and that final step in the years-long process of prosecuting the gunman. Some of the families of those murdered in the attack have indicated that they wish to speak.

The victims were Joyce Fienberg, Richard Gottfried, Rose Mallinger, Jerry Rabinowitz, Cecil Rosenthal, David Rosenthal, Bernice Simon, Sylvan Simon, Daniel Stein, Melvin Wax and Irving Younger.


The post Pittsburgh synagogue shooting jurors are deliberating the death penalty for the 2nd day appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Treasure Trove recalls a time when the Kingdom of Jordan’s pavilion at the World’s Fair generated controversy, protests and a court battle

In this pamphlet, the country of Jordan is billed as the “The Holy Land”. This material introduced visitors to the Kingdom of Jordan pavilion at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City. Ironically, the motto of the fair was “Peace Through Understanding”.  It describes a pavilion that includes a “photographic survey of the Holy […]

The post Treasure Trove recalls a time when the Kingdom of Jordan’s pavilion at the World’s Fair generated controversy, protests and a court battle appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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A shooting at Bais Chaya Mushka Elementary School involving two suspects is being investigated by Toronto Police

Bais Chaya Mushka Elementary School, located near the Finch and Dufferin intersection in Toronto, had shots fired in its direction Saturday at 4:52 a.m. The incident was captured on a security video. The suspects can be seen getting out of a dark-coloured vehicle and opening fire on the school, which serves the Hasidic community with […]

The post A shooting at Bais Chaya Mushka Elementary School involving two suspects is being investigated by Toronto Police appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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At Cannes, Iranian Director Rasoulof Recalls Difficult Exile Decision

FILE PHOTO: Cast member Setareh Maleki and director Mohammad Rasoulof attend a press conference for “The Seed of the Sacred Fig” (Les Graines du figuier sauvage) in competition at the 77th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 25, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/File Photo

Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof recalled how he had to decide within hours whether to go into exile or serve a prison sentence, saying it was still difficult to talk about it during a press conference at the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday.

Rasoulof was in the French Riviera town for the premiere of his new drama “The Seed of the Sacred Fig,” almost two weeks after announcing he had fled Iran and entered into exile in the wake of his sentencing to eight years in jail and flogging.

After he learned that he had a week left before his sentence would be implemented, things moved quickly, he said, especially as authorities had caught wind of the existence of his new film.

“I had to say to myself, well, do I want to be in prison, or should I leave Iran, geographic Iran, and join the cultural Iran that exists beyond its borders?” recalled the director.

“It took me two hours to make the decision. I walked around, I paced around my house. I said goodbye to my plants that I love, and I have many, many plants in my house,” he added.

Then, Rasoulof left all his belongings and walked out of the house. “It’s not an easy decision to take. It still isn’t easy even to talk about it today with you,” he told journalists.

Iran‘s culture minister Mohammad Mehdi Esmaili told state media this month that Rasoulof’s film had been made illegally and there would be a crackdown on movies without permits.

“The Seed of the Sacred Fig” is about a court official who grows increasingly controlling of his family during the 2022 protests over the death of Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish woman arrested by the morality police for allegedly flouting dress codes.

The film drew the longest standing ovation at the festival after its premiere on Friday night and was well received by critics who called it “mesmerizingly gripping” and “shattering.”

The director, who has been arrested and detained several times for charges ranging from filming without a permit to “collusion against national security,” said that the idea for the film came from years of confrontation with secret services.

“All these characters were inspired by real people, all the scenes come from real situations,” he said, adding that experience has also made him adept at avoiding secret services.

“Our life is fairly similar to that of gangsters, except we are gangsters of the cinema,” he joked at the news conference.

The post At Cannes, Iranian Director Rasoulof Recalls Difficult Exile Decision first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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