Philippine Standard Time
Monday, June 10, 2019, 2:18:54AM

In Defense of the Right to Life: International Law and Death Penalty in the Philippines

A study by the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines and Dr. Christopher Ward, SC, Australian Bar, Adjunct Professor, Australian National University

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Zimbabwe Considers Abolishing Death Penalty
Human Rights Watch | https://www.hrw.org/news/2024/02/15/zimbabwe-considers-abolishing-death-penalty, February 15, 2024
Death penalty incompatible with right to life
OHCHR | https://www.ohchr.org/en/stories/2024/01/death-penalty-incompatible-right-life, January 31, 2024
Debunking narratives for a return of the death penalty
WCADP | https://worldcoalition.org/2023/11/13/debunking-narratives-for-a-return-of-death-penalty/, November 13, 2023
Jury in Pittsburgh synagogue trial to begin deliberating death penalty
The New York Times | https://www.nytimes.com/2023/07/31/us/pittsburgh-synagogue-deliberations-death-penalty.html, July 31, 2023
Singapore executes a woman for first time in almost two decades
The Guardian | https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/jul/28/singapore-woman-execute-death-penalty-saridewi-djamani-executed, July 28, 2023
Ghana votes to remove death penalty, calling it sign of ‘inhumane’ society
The Washington Post | https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/07/26/ghana-parliament-abolish-death-penalty/, July 26, 2023
Comment by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk after Ghana’s Parliament votes to abolish death penalty
UN OHCHR | https://www.ohchr.org/en/stories/2023/04/hc-death-penalty-should-be-abolished-21st-century, July 26, 2023
Parents in South Korea who kill newborns now face death penalty after law passed
The Straits Times | https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/south-korea-parents-who-kill-newborns-now-face-death-penalty-after-law-passed, July 19, 2023
Capitol Hill Democrats introduce bill to end federal death penalty
Catholic News Agency | https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/254839/capitol-hill-democrats-introduce-bill-to-end-federal-death-penalty, July 19, 2023
North Koreans risk death penalty for using South Korean language
Scottish Legal News | https://www.scottishlegal.com/articles/north-koreans-risk-death-penalty-for-using-south-korean-language, June 30, 2023
Arizona Man Is Freed After 28 Years on Death Row
New York Times | https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/16/us/arizona-barry-jones-conviction-overturned.html, June 16, 2023
Two Australians facing death penalty in Vietnam granted clemency
Al Jazeera | https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/6/6/two-australians-facing-death-penalty-in-vietnam-granted-clemency, June 06, 2023
Japanese Supreme Court upholds mans death sentence for Manila murders
The Japan Times | https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2023/06/05/national/crime-legal/toshihiko-iwama-supreme-court-sentence-upheld/, June 05, 2023
Zimbabwe’s new bill that imposes death penalty for ‘unpatriotic acts’
Africa Feeds | https://africafeeds.com/2023/06/01/zimbabwes-new-bill-that-imposes-death-penalty-for-unpatriotic-acts/, June 01, 2023
Iran hangs three on drug charges amid criticism
Al Jazeera | https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/5/21/iran-hangs-three-on-drug-charges-amid-criticism, May 21, 2023
Singapore: OHCHR calls on authorities to halt imminent trafficking execution
United Nation News | https://news.un.org/en/story/2023/04/1136022, April 25, 2023
Washington state eliminates death penalty from law
CNN | https://edition.cnn.com/2023/04/21/politics/washington-state-death-penalty-eliminated/index.html, April 21, 2023
Malaysia ends mandatory death penalty for serious crimes
BBC News | https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-65160091, April 03, 2023
HC: Death penalty should be abolished in the 21st century
UN OHCHR | https://www.ohchr.org/en/stories/2023/04/hc-death-penalty-should-be-abolished-21st-century, April 03, 2023
HC: Death penalty should be abolished in the 21st century
UN OHCHR | https://www.ohchr.org/en/stories/2023/04/hc-death-penalty-should-be-abolished-21st-century, April 03, 2023
HC: Death penalty should be abolished in the 21st century
UN OHCHR | https://www.ohchr.org/en/stories/2023/04/hc-death-penalty-should-be-abolished-21st-century, April 03, 2023
HC: Death penalty should be abolished in the 21st century
UN OHCHR | https://www.ohchr.org/en/stories/2023/04/hc-death-penalty-should-be-abolished-21st-century, April 03, 2023
Surge in executions of drug offenders in 2022, more on death row
Al Jazeera | https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/3/16/surge-in-executions-of-drug-offenders-in-2022-more-on-death-row, March 16, 2023
Pope condemns Irans use of death penalty against protesters
Reuters | https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/pope-says-wars-like-that-ukraine-are-crime-against-god-humanity-2023-01-09/, January 09, 2023
Pope Francis’ prayer intention for September: ‘Abolition of the death penalty’
CBCP News | https://cbcpnews.net/cbcpnews/pope-francis-prayer-intention-for-september-abolition-of-the-death-penalty/?fbclid=IwAR3iULIPLvQJPPcXrjjp6IieOYM5V_6sHPMu36rdXbereY7Aqe2N9k07YzA, September 01, 2022
Singapore executes two drug traffickers despite pleas for clemency
CNN | https://edition.cnn.com/2022/07/07/asia/singapore-executions-kalwant-singh-intl-hnk/index.html, July 07, 2022
Malaysia to abolish mandatory death penalty
Al Jazeera | https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/6/10/malaysia-to-abolish-mandatory-death-penalty, June 10, 2022
Missionary priest praises Central African Republic for abolishing death penalty
Crux | https://cruxnow.com/church-in-africa/2022/06/missionary-priest-praises-central-african-republic-for-abolishing-death-penalty, June 02, 2022
Saudi Arabia: Release Abdullah al-Howaiti, revoke death sentence
Un News | https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/05/1119392, May 31, 2022
Rights office welcomes Zambia’s pledge to abolish the death penalty
UN News | https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/05/1119282, May 22, 2022
Kazakhstan Finalizes Commitment to Abolishing Death Penalty, Submits Ratification of Protocol to UN
The Astana Times | https://astanatimes.com/2022/03/kazakhstan-finalizes-commitment-to-abolishing-death-penalty-submits-ratification-of-protocol-to-un/, March 28, 2022
Papua New Guinea abolishes death penalty
JURIST | https://www.jurist.org/news/2022/01/papua-new-guinea-abolishes-death-penalty/, January 24, 2022
‘Just Mercy’ author urges Utah Legislature to abolish death penalty
Deseret News | https://www.deseret.com/utah/2022/1/19/22891315/utah-abolish-death-penalty-bryan-stevenson-just-mercy-capital-punishment-execution-ron-lafferty, January 20, 2022
Macron calls for worldwide end to death penalty on 40th anniversary of French abolition
France 24 | https://www.france24.com/en/france/20211009-live-macron-marks-40-years-since-france-s-abolition-of-the-death-penalty, September 10, 2021
Virginia Becomes First Southern State to Abolish the Death Penalty
The New York Times | https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/24/us/politics/virginia-death-penalty.html, March 24, 2021
Death penalty debate reemerges in Nevada after past stalls
Fox 5 (Las Vegas) | https://www.fox5vegas.com/election_hq/death-penalty-debate-reemerges-in-nevada-after-past-stalls/article_0688f6c2-8cf7-11eb-92c9-87b29a7fff72.html, March 24, 2021
Virginia becomes first state in US south to abolish death penalty
ALJAZEERA | https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/3/24/virginia-becomes-first-southern-state-to-end-death-penalty, March 24, 2021
Abolish the federal death penalty
Chicago Sun-times | https://chicago.suntimes.com/2021/3/1/22308151/federal-death-penalty-abolish-illinois-editorial, March 01, 2021
Family members of murder victims speak out against the death penalty
KPVI News 6 | https://www.kpvi.com/news/local_news/family-members-of-murder-victims-speak-out-against-the-death-penalty/article_a277f95a-7b0b-11eb-b0db-e71c026bc980.html, March 01, 2021
Bill To Repeal Death Penalty Filed In Wyoming Legislature
Kgab | https://kgab.com/bill-to-repeal-death-penalty-filed-in-wyoming-legislature/, March 01, 2021
State Senate Votes to Abolish Death Penalty
Newsradio 1140 WRVA | https://www.radio.com/newsradiowrva/articles/local/state-senate-votes-to-abolish-death-penalty, February 04, 2021
Trump administration carries out 13th, final federal execution
Aljazeera | https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/1/16/trump-administration-carries-out-13th-final-federal-execution, January 16, 2021
A federal judge has granted a stay of execution for the only woman on federal death row pending a competency hearing
CNN | https://edition.cnn.com/2021/01/12/us/lisa-montgomery-execution-stayed/index.html, January 12, 2021
Asian Nations Reject UN Vote Against Death Penalty
Human Rights Watch | https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/11/25/asian-nations-reject-un-vote-against-death-penalty, November 24, 2020
Holy See: ‘Death penalty the most shocking thing in the world
Vatican News | https://www.vaticannews.va/en.html, October 10, 2020
Tunisia president calls for return of death penalty following brutal killing
The Guardian | https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/oct/01/tunisia-president-calls-for-return-of-death-penalty-following-brutal-killing, October 01, 2020
Kazakhstan takes important step towards abolishing death penalty
Amnesty Internatonal | https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/09/kazakhstan-takes-important-step-towards-abolishing-death-penalty/, September 24, 2020
US Bishops stress opposition to death penalty
Independent Catholic News | https://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/40518, September 23, 2020
‘Travesty of justice’: Reaction to execution of Iranian wrestler
Aljazeera | https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/9/14/travesty-of-justice-reaction-to-execution-of-iranian-wrestler, September 14, 2020
Unpacking public opinion on the death penalty
Asia Pacific Forum | https://www.asiapacificforum.net/news/unpacking-public-opinion-death-penalty/?fbclid=IwAR1nZrobPsNYhxX0OPAMarJzD5XNqcgpYDWN26O7NXkr4ZomfUPk5jiGhvI, July 28, 2020
The Florida Supreme Court’s U-turn on the death penalty
Tampa Bay Times | https://www.tampabay.com/opinion/2020/05/27/the-florida-supreme-courts-u-turn-on-the-death-penalty-editorial/, May 28, 2020
Man sentenced to death in Singapore via Zoom
BBC News | https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-52739676, May 20, 2020
Saudi Arabia ends death penalty for crimes committed by minors
The Guardian | https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/27/saudi-arabia-ends-death-penalty-for-minors, April 27, 2020
Catholic leaders praise abolition of death penalty in Colorado
CRUX | https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2020/03/catholic-leaders-praise-abolition-of-death-penalty-in-colorado/, March 25, 2020
Colorado Abolishes Death Penalty and Commutes Sentences of Death Row Inmates
The New York Times | https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/23/us/colorado-death-penalty-repeal.html, March 23, 2020
UK urged to act over men facing death in Egypt for alleged childhood crimes
The Guardian | https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/mar/08/uk-urged-to-act-over-men-facing-death-in-egypt-for-alleged-childhood-crimes, March 08, 2020
Berlin International Film Festival: Iranian film about executions wins top prize
BBC | https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-51693417, February 29, 2020
Trump condemned after claiming very powerful death penalty would reduce drug dealing
The Independent | https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-drug-death-penalty-china-crime-white-house-a9328356.html, February 11, 2020
Outsourcing injustice: Guantanamo on the Euphrates
Al Jazeera News | https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/outsourcing-injustice-guantanamo-euphrates-200203105251830.html, February 04, 2020
British Isis prisoners may end up in Iraq, where death sentences are handed down without due process
Independent | https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-iraq-international-law-prisoner-deaths-trial-a9311556.html, February 02, 2020
Saudi Arabia executed record number of prisoners in 2019: Report
ABC News | https://abcnews.go.com/International/saudi-arabia-executed-record-number-prisoners-2019-report/story?id=68250502, January 14, 2020
Death Sentence Overturned for Pervez Musharraf, Ex-Leader of Pakistan
The New York Times | https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/13/world/asia/pervez-musharraf-pakistan-death-sentence.html, January 13, 2020
Japan executes foreigner for first time in a decade
Independent | https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/first-foreigner-execution-decade-japan-wei-wei-china-a9260671.html, December 26, 2019
The Khashoggi verdict is exactly what impunity looks like. It must be denounced.
Agnes Callamard, Opinions, Washington Post | https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-khashoggi-verdict-is-exactly-what-impunity-looks-like-it-must-be-denounced/2019/12/23/60b5226c-25cc-11ea-ad73-2, December 24, 2019
5 foreigners in drug case could face death in Indonesia
Inquirer.net | https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1202995/5-foreigners-in-drug-case-could-face-death-in-indonesia?utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook#Echobox=1576715552, December 18, 2019
Pervez Musharraf: Pakistan ex-leader sentenced to death for treason
BBC News | https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-50819772, December 17, 2019
Botswana urged to abolish death penalty after latest execution
The Guardian | https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/dec/09/botswana-urged-to-abolish-death-penalty-after-latest-execution, December 09, 2019
I Oversaw Executions. We Cannot Resume the Federal Death Penalty
New York Times | https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/04/opinion/federal-death-penalty-execution.html, December 04, 2019
Americans Now Support Life in Prison Over Death Penalty
Gallup News | https://news.gallup.com/poll/268514/americans-support-life-prison-death-penalty.aspx, November 25, 2019
UN criticizes Irans use of death penalty against minors
DW | https://www.dw.com/en/un-criticizes-irans-use-of-death-penalty-against-minors/a-50959211, October 24, 2019
The Death Penalty for Drugs: What Public Opinion Surveys in Asia Teach Us
Giada Girelli, Filter Mag | https://filtermag.org/death-penalty-drugs-public-opinion-asia/, October 17, 2019
Malaysia: Unfair trials, secretive hangings and petty drug convictions reveal ‘cruel injustice’ of the death penalty
Amnesty International | https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/10/malaysia-unfair-trials-secretive-hangings-petty-drug-convictions-cruel-injustice-death-penalty/, October 10, 2019
Against the death penalty: barrister Julian McMahon
ABC Radio | https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/conversations/julian-mcmahon-against-capital-punishment/11323694, July 25, 2019
Malaysia’s repeal of death penalty opens deep wounds, including that of Mongolian model murder
The Independent|http://theindependent.sg/malaysias-repeal-of-death-penalty-opens-deep-wounds-including-that-of-mongolian-model-murder/, July 09, 2019
Why is Sri Lanka reinstating death penalty?
DW|https://www.dw.com/en/why-is-sri-lanka-reinstating-death-penalty/a-49469184, July 07, 2019
Debate on death penalty not very vigorous 1 year after Aum executions
Japan Today|https://japantoday.com/category/crime/Debate-on-death-penalty-not-very-vigorous-1-year-after-AUM-executions, July 06, 2019
Prosecutor won’t seek death penalty in death of grandmother
News 4 Tucson|https://kvoa.com/news/2019/07/06/prosecutor-wont-seek-death-penalty-in-death-of-grandmother-2/, July 06, 2019
SC issues Interim Order against death penalty
Daily FT|http://www.ft.lk/top-story/SC-issues-Interim-Order-against-death-penalty/26-681423, July 06, 2019
Latter-day Saint Church defends involvement in death penalty case
Fox13 Salt Lake City|https://fox13now.com/2019/07/06/latter-day-saint-church-defends-involvement-in-death-penalty-case/, July 06, 2019
Sri Lanka- Supreme Court issues interim order against death penalty
MenaFN|https://menafn.com/1098726786/Sri-Lanka-Supreme-Court-issues-interim-order-against-death-penalty, July 05, 2019
Jury to consider death penalty in Chinese scholar killing
Federal News Network|https://federalnewsnetwork.com/u-s-news/2019/07/jury-to-consider-death-penalty-in-chinese-scholar-killing/, July 05, 2019
Death penalty debate remains muted in Japan 1 year after AUM executions
Kyodo News|https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2019/07/ac82c329cc50-debate-on-death-penalty-not-spirited-1-year-after-aum-executions.html, July 05, 2019
Source: Govt will not table Bill to abolish death penalty this Parliament meeting
The Star|https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/07/05/source-govt-will-not-table-bill-to-abolish-death-penalty-this-parliament-meeting/#AutEm2wGijJmcWeJ.99, July 05, 2019
The murder was caught on surveillance video. The accused now faces death if convicted
Miami Herald|https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/article232314222.html, July 05, 2019
Kentucky judge declares death penalty protocol unconstitutional
Crux Now|https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2019/07/04/kentucky-judge-declares-death-penalty-protocol-unconstitutional/, July 04, 2019
As Malaysia eyes death penalty repeal, Al Jazeera documentary explores dilemma of capital punishment
Malay Mail|https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2019/07/04/as-malaysia-eyes-death-penalty-repeal-al-jazeera-documentary-explores-dilem/1768271, July 04, 2019
Merced County DA is seeking the death penalty. And it could get costly, experts say
The Merced Sunstar|https://www.mercedsunstar.com/news/local/crime/article232240867.html, July 03, 2019
Jose Martinez, The Hit Man Who Confessed To Killing Three Dozen People, Avoids The Death Penalty
BuzzFeed News|https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/jessicagarrison/jose-martinez-the-hitman-who-confessed-to-killing-three, July 03, 2019
Activists Hold Annual Fast Outside Supreme Court to Protest Death Penalty
Spektrum News|https://spectrumnews1.com/ky/lexington/news/2019/07/02/death-penalty-protest-in-washington, July 02, 2019
Kentucky judge declares states death penalty protocol unconstitutional
The Courier Journal|https://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/2019/07/02/death-penalty-protocol-struck-down-kentucky-judge/1634299001/, July 02, 2019
Lawmakers vote to substantially limit Oregon’s death penalty
Oregon Live|https://www.oregonlive.com/politics/2019/06/lawmakers-vote-to-substantially-limit-oregons-death-penalty.html, June 29, 2019
Abolish the Death Penalty?
New York Times|https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/22/opinion/letters/death-penalty.html, June 22, 2019
In Los Angeles, only people of color are sentenced to death
The Guardian|https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jun/18/los-angeles-death-penalty-sentences-jackie-lacey, June 18, 2019
GEORGIA PREPARES TO CARRY OUT THE 1,500TH EXECUTION IN THE U.S. SINCE 1976
The Intercept|https://theintercept.com/2019/06/18/georgia-execution-death-row/, June 18, 2019
Poll finds Californians support the death penalty — and Newsom’s moratorium on executions
The LA Times|https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-california-death-penalty-poll-20190617-story.html, June 17, 2019
Debunking the Court’s Latest Death-Penalty Obsession
The Atlantic|https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/06/supreme-court-defends-death-penalty-again/591682/, June 17, 2019
Using Saudi death penalty vs. children is barbaric
CNN|https://edition.cnn.com/2019/06/17/opinions/saudi-death-penalty-children-murtaja-qureiris-coogle/index.html, June 17, 2019
Reader reluctantly accepts governor’s death penalty moratorium
The LA Times|https://www.latimes.com/socal/burbank-leader/opinion/tn-blr-me-letters-to-the-editor-20190614-story.html, June 14, 2019
Saudi Teenager Faces Death Sentence for Acts When He Was 10
New York Times|https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/09/world/middleeast/saudi-teenager-death-sentence.html, June 09, 2019
GOP Lawmakers Are Quietly Turning Against the Death Penalty
The Atlantic|https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/06/new-hampshire-helped-abolish-death-penalty/590803/, June 07, 2019
Death knell: taking a stand to abolish capital punishment
Monash University | https://lens.monash.edu/@politics-society/2019/02/26/1373504/fighting-to-abolish-capital-punishment, February 26, 2019
Germany abolishes death penalty in public vote
Independent | https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/germany-abolishes-death-penalty-hesse-state-capital-punishment-vote-referendum-a8645036.html, November 21, 2018
Pope Francis: ‘death penalty inadmissable’
Vatican News | https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2018-08/pope-francis-cdf-ccc-death-penalty-revision-ladaria.html, August 02, 2018
One Test Could Exonerate Him. Why Wont California Do It?
The New York Times|https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/14/opinion/sunday/death-penalty.html, May 17, 2018

World News

Jury in Pittsburgh synagogue trial to begin deliberating death penalty

July 31, 2023, The New York Times

Testimony concluded on Monday in the federal trial of the man who killed 11 worshipers in a Pittsburgh synagogue, as the defense and prosecution laid out, in their closing arguments, the conflict at the heart of the case: whether the man who carried out the massacre was driven by a cold, calculated hatred or by a diseased mind.

After nearly three months and more than 100 witnesses, all that remains in the trial is for the jury to decide whether the defendant, Robert Bowers, should spend the rest of his life in prison or be condemned to death for the October 2018 attack.

Deliberations are expected to begin on Tuesday morning.

The facts of the crime, considered the deadliest antisemitic attack in the country’s history, have never been in dispute. In June, after weeks of harrowing testimony from survivors, Mr. Bowers was convicted on 63 counts, including hate crimes that carry a potential death sentence. In mid-July, the jury determined he was eligible for the death penalty. Since then, the trial has focused on whether that should be his sentence.

In urging the jurors to vote for a death sentence, Eric Olshan, one of the prosecutors, outlined the nine aggravating factors that the jurors will consider, including the extensive planning, the setting in a house of worship and the lack of any apparent remorse.

One by one, Mr. Olshan, the U.S. attorney for Western District of Pennsylvania, gave brief sketches of those who were killed — Joyce Fienberg, 75; Richard Gottfried, 65; Rose Mallinger, 97; Daniel Stein, 71; Melvin Wax, 87; Irving Younger, 69; Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz, 66; the couple Bernice, 84, and Sylvan Simon, 86; and the brothers Cecil, 59, and David Rosenthal, 54 — showing old family photos and recounting the effect of their deaths on those around them.

He then went through the list again, this time showing photos of each victim as he or she was found in the pews or on the floors of the synagogue, many of them lying in pools of blood. He described in detail what bullets had done to them and the bodies of the six other people who were badly injured.

That degree of loss was immeasurable, he said. “But you still must take the impact of all of that loss, for each of the 11, and put it on the scale.”

Mr. Olshan highlighted remarks that Mr. Bowers made to psychiatrists who had examined him — mostly witnesses called by the defense — in which he regretted only that he had not killed more Jewish people. He dismissed the defense’s arguments that Mr. Bowers was incapable of feeling remorse because of his schizophrenia, a diagnosis made by several psychiatrists but one that the prosecution has disputed.

In her closing argument, Judy Clarke, a lawyer for Mr. Bowers, argued that deciding whether to put someone to death required going beyond the facts of the crime to the circumstances of the defendant’s life. “You can’t stop with the crime and the harm that it caused,” she said. “Those of you that have to make an extraordinary decision about the life of another fellow citizen can’t stop there.”

She recounted the weeks of testimony about Mr. Bowers’s upbringing, depicting a family plagued by serious mental illness, including depression and schizophrenia. Mr. Bowers’s life was chaotic and troubled from the time he was an infant, Ms. Clarke said, showing the jury a series of images from official reports recording his repeated suicide attempts and commitments to mental health facilities.

Ms. Clarke argued that there were times when Mr. Bowers tried to overcome his challenges, finding work or getting limited medical attention. But she said his mental health spiraled sharply in the years leading up to the attack when, in rapid succession, he lost his grandfather, his house and his only close friend.

“It is then that he succumbed to his mental illness, to his delusional beliefs, and brought us where we are today,” she said.

Describing those pivotal few years, she focused on the testimony of Dr. George Corvin, a forensic psychiatrist who testified last week and had interviewed Mr. Bowers in prison for nearly 40 hours. Mr. Bowers had become obsessed with the idea of an impending apocalypse, Dr. Corvin said, and had come to believe that Satan was using Jewish people to bring about a race war between whites and nonwhites. Mr. Bowers believed that it was his divine mission to fight back, and that’s what he thought he was doing when he carried out his attack, Dr. Corvin concluded.

“He was mentally ill as a child, he was mentally ill as an adult, and ultimately he descended into serious mental illness and committed these horrible crimes and what a tragedy is that,” Ms. Clarke said. “But is that who we kill?”



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