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Feds deny DA’s request to arraign synagogue shooting suspect |

Feds deny DA’s request to arraign synagogue shooting suspect

Dave Klug for the Tribune-Review
Robert Bowers, accused of killing 11 people inside the Tree of Life Congregation in Squirrel Hill, appeared in a wheelchair Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, at his first court hearing at the federal courthouse in Pittsburgh's Downtown

Federal officials have denied a request from the Allegheny County District Attorney for a temporary release of suspected synagogue shooter Robert Bowers so he could be arraigned on local homicide and hate-crime charges, authorities said.

The District Attorney’s Office filed three dozen charges late Saturday night, including 11 counts of homicide. Bowers was arraigned on 29 federal charges Monday morning.

Bowers is accused of shooting 11 people to death and wounding six others at Tree of Life Congregation in Squirrel Hill Saturday morning.

District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. said in a statement this is “clearly a capital case.

“Ideally, as with previous prosecutions, the residents of our county would be the ones to sit in judgment of (Bowers) and should be given the opportunity to determine guilt and subsequent punishment,” he said.

Zappala said the investigation has been taken over by the FBI and the Department of Justice, and the case will need to move forward at the federal level first.

The state’s charges against Bowers will be put on hold in the meantime, Zappala said, noting his office will make sure Bowers’ right to a speedy trial is not violated.

Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, [email protected] or via Twitter @meganguzaTrib.

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