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Sisters of 2 Tree of Life victims say most families want death penalty

Sisters of 2 Tree of Life victims say majority of families want death penalty
Sisters of 2 Tree of Life victims say majority of families want death penalty 01:53

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The sisters of David and Cecil Rosenthal are speaking out, saying they want the death penalty for the accused Tree of Life synagogue gunman. 

Diane and Michele Rosenthal never wanted to do this.

"It was not our intention to speak about the legal proceedings until after the trial, but we felt the need to speak up and correct this prevalent misconception before it continues," Diane said. 

As they mourn the loss of their two brothers, David and Cecil, killed in the Tree of Life synagogue shooting, they say they're also dealing with misinformation.

"They've come from individuals of the congregations, elected officials, and others who think they know what's best for the families," Diane said. 

They want people to know they believe the death penalty must apply to this trial, saying seven of the nine families who lost loved ones even sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland in July of 2021 saying they support seeking the death penalty in this case.

"This remains our families' position today and the other six families who coauthored this letter have given us permission to share this letter with you following our comments today," Diane said. 

Michele Rosenthal says 22 of the 63 counts the defendant faces are eligible for the death penalty and the family wants justice to play out.

"The suggestions published or reported that family members be relieved of the stress of a trial or that a cost-benefit analysis dictates a plea are offensive to our family," Michele said. 

Prosecutors continue to seek the death penalty despite several motion attempts to get them to throw it out. The trial begins at the end of the month.

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