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Robert Bowers: Attorneys For Accused Tree Of Life Gunman Try New Tactic To Get Trial Moved

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Just days after requesting a change of venue, attorneys for accused Tree of Life gunman Robert Bowers have made a new attempt to get the trial moved out of Pittsburgh.

>> COMPLETE COVERAGE: Tree of Life shooting

Hundreds of pages of newly-unsealed documents reveal that the defense claims Bowers won't get a diverse jury in Allegheny County.

The defense hired a consultant to examine Allegheny County jury records dating back several years.

"The source list of registered voters ... used to select Grand Jurors in this case underrepresent Black or African-American persons, Black or African-American males, and Hispanic or Latino persons," the defense wrote. "The underrepresentation is statistically significant ... (and) has persisted historically."

Much of the documentation just unsealed explained measurement formulas in order to compare local minority populations with minority representation in potential jury pools.


According to the lawyers' data, of the 2.17 million people in the "jury eligible population in the Pittsburgh division," 39,215 were selected to receive a qualification questionnaire. Eventually, 23 were selected for the grand jury in the case.

The lawyers' data broke down the racial makeup of those 23 who ultimately indicted Bowers following the 2018 shooting.

"The 23 persons who comprise the Grand Jury in this case are 0.00% Black or African-American persons, 0.00% Black or African-American males, and 0.00% Hispanic or Latino," the lawyers wrote.

It's unclear when a ruling will be made on this latest motion. Last week, citing pre-trial publicity, Bowers' defense requested a change of venue. Also last week, a federal judge denied a defense motion to suppress statements Bowers allegedly made during and after the shooting.

Bowers is accused of killing 11 Jewish congregants as they prayed at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood, in the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in American history. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

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