PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The accused Tree of Life shooter Robert Bowers’ offer to plead guilty in exchange for a sentence of life without release was rejected.

According to court documents released Tuesday, his request was rejected by federal prosecutors, who are pursuing the death penalty.

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The Justice Department filed for the death penalty in August.


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Bowers is accused of killing 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill last October.

The filing for the death penalty backs up what U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady had indicated when he charged Bowers with the obstruction of an exercise of religious belief resulting in death, a hate crime that could merit execution under the federal system.

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But defense attorney Judy Clarke offered a guilty plea in exchange for life for Bowers, and congregations New Light and Dor Hadash wanted the government to take the deal.