The trial for a man accused of killing 11 Jewish worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018 is underway. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

Robert Bowers, 50, pleaded not guilty to 63 charges after firing at people in the Tree of Life synagogue.

As opening statements were made on Tuesday, WJET reached out to a local Jewish leader in the Erie community for their thoughts on the start of the trial.

Jeff Pinski, chairman of the Jewish Community Council of Erie, said the following:

“The attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh was one of the most violent attacks on the Jewish community in American history. Since that time, antisemitism has only continued to thrive. We’ve been taking steps backwards as a society.”