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Still No Date Set For Trial In Tree Of Life Synagogue Massacre

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Attorneys involved in the trial for accused Tree of Life Synagogue gunman Robert Bowers met with the judge to discuss deadlines Monday.

Nearly three years after the killings of 11 worshippers inside the synagogue, there's still no set date for trial. There's also no word yet on if Bowers will assert an insanity defense.

KDKA Investigator Meghan Schiller listened in as prosecutors pushed for stricter deadlines and defense attorneys asked for more time due to COVID safety restraints.

Prosecutors said Monday it's a matter of "respect," not only for the deceased, but also respect for their loved ones.

Also, prosecutors said they want to know if Bowers intends to assert an insanity defense. If he plans to do that, Bowers' defense team needs to give notice and the prosecution wants it sooner rather than later.

Overall, prosecutors pointed out the fact we're quickly approaching the three-year mark and said they're looking out for the best interest of both the victims and families involved.

Judge Donetta Ambrose offered this opinion saying, "I want you to understand I think the time has come to get this going."

Bowers' defense team pushed back, saying COVID is delaying its fieldwork and hindering its ability to travel to complete the investigation.

The defense team said it wants to talk more about mental health deadlines in September at the upcoming suppression hearings.

The other question still up for debate: will Bowers' death penalty trial happen in Pittsburgh?

Prosecutors urged the judge to set a deadline for defense to try to challenge and change the venue, saying the earlier everyone knows, the better. Bowers' defense team said it will wait until other motions wrap up, before moving on to the issue of venue.

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